Jessica Beshir’s hypnotic, immersive and very beautiful documentary marks an impressive feature debut.
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Faya Dayi is predominantly a mood piece that seeks to evoke the leaf’s own perception-altering properties.
The documentary’s aesthetics strikingly channel the euphoric feelings induced by Ethopia’s top cash crop.
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.
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.
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.