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Faya Dayi

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Ethiopia, United States · 2021
2h 0m
Director Jessica Beshir
Starring Mohammed Arif, Hashim Abdi, Biniam Yonas, Urji Abrahim Mumade
Genre Documentary

A spiritual journey into the highlands of Harar, Ethiopia, immersed in the rituals of khat, a leaf Sufi Muslims chewed for centuries for religious meditations—and Ethiopia’s most lucrative cash crop today. A tapestry of intimate stories offers a window into the dreams of youth under a repressive regime.

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What are critics saying?


Variety by Guy Lodge

Faya Dayi is predominantly a mood piece that seeks to evoke the leaf’s own perception-altering properties.


The Film Stage by Jordan Raup

Journalistic in the sense that it feels like Beshir has compiled stray quotes, fleeting snapshots, and loosely connected thoughts from a journal into a dreamy cinematic form, Faya Dayi becomes more breathtaking as these images and ideas coalesce.


Film Threat by Josiah Teal

Leaving a traditional narrative structure in the dust, Beshir uses breathtaking cinematography to bring you into the Horn of Africa. The movie is moving poetry about the struggles in khat fields and Ethiopia itself.


IndieWire by Tambay Obenson

Faya Dayi is 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. It’s familiar yet foreign — a world one must at once surrender to, yet be careful to not completely lose oneself in.

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