Saturday, Sep 16 at 1:30 pm
Location la: Bartos Screening Room
Dir. Babak Jalali. U.S. 2023, 91 mins. DCP. With Anaita Wali Zada, Jeremy Allen White, Gregg Turkington, Hilda Schmelling, Avis See-tho, Siddique Ahmed. Lying alone in her small apartment in the Bay area town of Fremont, California, Donya (newcomer Wali Zada) can’t sleep. Joanna (Schmelling), with whom she works in a fortune cookie factory in San Francisco, thinks the newly immigrated twentysomething is lonely for love, while her pro bono psychiatrist (Turkington) clumsily teases out potential explanations like Donya’s past work as a translator for the U.S. government. Meanwhile at her housing complex, which is populated by fellow Afghan refugees, her insomnia is hardly unusual. Filmed in black-and-white and unfolding in highly composed, often rhyming static shots, Jalali’s Sundance standout evokes early Jim Jarmusch, late Arturo Ripstein, and the rhythmic, paneled progression of graphic novels, yet it has an exquisitely modulated tone all its own: somewhere between deadpan comedy and offhand sorrow. Jalali emphasizes the seemingly minor interactions that provide significant connections (every character, big or small, is contoured), and lets Donya command our attention without any cutesy affectations; her scarce smiles are earned. Fremont is a quietly radical tale of an outsider who’s both alone and at home among outsiders.
Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.