Very few films are this ruminative and this hypnotic. Completely mesmerizing, the black and white never feels like a gimmick at all and only enhances Faya Dayi's effectiveness. The film captures the rituals around 'khat,' a stimulant hallucinogenic leaf along with its inception, harvesting, consumption and business in rural Ethiopian town of Harar. It is also used in Sufism rituals but the WHO has classified it as abuse. We see that almost every adult is prone to chew Khat to escape the harsh reality and they see it as an alternative for missing out on the eternal water. The younger generation dream of a better future and it is seen through the eyes of Mohanmmad, one of the characters in this amazing documentary. He wishes to escape and there is evidence of a vivid imagination. But reality soon explodes in his face, separated from his mother, he is caught in the cycle of no return resonating with the socio-political turmoil of the region and will never be able to leave it behind.
"Faya Dayi" is the debut feature by Ethiopian-Mexican filmmaker Jessica Beshir, who spent 10 years crafting a black-and-white niche oddity supported by great sound design and score. On the surface, this might sound like a generic documentary with all the genre troupes but Jessica Beshir takes a slow and meditative approach, managing to immerse the viewer in just over two hours with a deep thought aimed at the Khat harvesters. I really hope it takes home the Oscar, a much deserved honour indeed and i wish it will harvest many appreciations. But i feel this film's success would be more rooted in the deep discussions and lasting experience it evokes after completing it.
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A spiritual journey into the highlands of Harar, immersed in the rituals of khat, a leaf Sufi Muslims chewed for centuries for religious meditations - and Ethiopia's most lucrative cash crop today.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
August 10, 2022 at 12:51 PM