CLOSING NIGHT FILM
A stylish deadpan dramedy about an insomniac Afghan woman unable to dream the American dream.
Dir. Babak Jalali / United States / 2023 / English, Cantonese, Dari with English subtitles
Twenty-something Donya (Anaita Wali Zada) spends her days working at a fortune cookie factory and her nights wide awake battling insomnia. An Afghan refugee who emigrated to the US after serving as a translator for the American army, Donya lives in limbo between the desire to rebuild her life and the overbearing guilt she carries within. With Fremont, director Babak Jalali (whose debut Frontier Blues played at EIFF 2010) drinks from the fountain of Jim Jarmusch, weaving deadpan humour and poignancy into a sensitive immigrant tale anchored by the moving breakout performance of real-life refugee Wali Zada. She is joined here by the perpetually off-kilter Gregg Turkington as a Jack London-loving psychiatrist and Jeremy Allen White, star of The Bear, as a heartthrob mechanic.
Rafa Sales Ross, Film Programmer