Film: Fremont

 

 

 

Former journalist and translator for the US military Anaita Wali Zada escaped from Afghanistan and made it to the United States in 2021.

Eight months later, at the age of 22, and despite English not being her first language, she answered a “cast call” on social media and won the lead role in
Fremont, a thoughtful, quirky film set in San Francisco.

Anaita’s natural acting ability is evident – made easier by her background as a TV reporter – in this film about displacement, and exploring the freedom to live a life of your own choosing.

 

 

Her character, Donya works in a factory that produces Chinese fortune cookies. She and Joanna (Hilda Schemelling) package the cookies while Fran (Avis See-Tho) writes the one-liners that are tucked inside them.

Grappling with her new life, Donya eats alone, and spends sleepless nights tormented by survivor’s guilt and concern about her family back in Afghanistan. She longs for a romantic partner.

A kindly neighbour,  also a refugee, who also can’t sleep, insists she takes his sessions with his therapist Dr Anthony (Greg Turkington).

 

 

When Fran (the writer of the one-liners) suddenly dies, Donya is promoted to the writing job. Struggling for words she eventually writes “Desperate for a Dream” with her name and phone number which perhaps will bring hope for her future.

This is the fourth feature film from Iranian/British director Babak Jalali. Co-written with Carolina Cavalli, it is shot in black and white. It moves slowly and has an optimistic ending.

88 minutes.

Showing at Luna Leederville and Luna SX Fremantle

Watch the trailer…

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