In her hypnotic documentary feature, Ethiopian-Mexican filmmaker Jessica Beshir explores the coexistence of everyday life and its mythical undercurrents. Though a deeply personal project — Beshir was forced to leave her hometown of Harar with her family as a teenager due to growing political strife — the film she returned to make about the city, its rural Oromo community of farmers, and the harvesting of the country’s most sought-after export (the euphoria-inducing khat plant) is neither a straightforward work of nostalgia nor an issue-oriented doc about a particular drug culture. Rather, she has constructed something dreamlike — a film that uses light, texture and sound to illuminate the spiritual lives of people whose experiences often become fodder for ripped-from-the-headlines tales of migration.
“FAYI DAYI is lumescent with atmosphere…. A film that invites the mind and soul with its visual grandeur, and keeps the viewer engaged with a tension and mystery that seems to be lurking beneath its surface.” —Tambay Obenson, IndieWire “From the opening scene, with its song of insects and its vision, in silvery B&W, of a figure emerging from a landscape in a joyful dancing lope, the film moves on lyrical currents, its visuals and soundscape enveloping. The writer-director-cinematographer’s eye for detail is exquisite.” —Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter