directed by Babak Jalali, 91 minutes, starring Anaita Wali Zada, Jeremy Allen White (The Bear), Gregg Turkington (Neil Hamburger)
Each morning Donya (Anaita Wali Zada) leaves her tight-knit community of Afghan immigrants in Fremont, California. She crosses the Bay to work at a family-run fortune cookie factory in San Francisco. Donya drifts through her routine, struggling to connect with the culture and people of her new, unfamiliar surroundings while processing complicated feelings about her past as a translator for the U.S. government in Afghanistan. Unable to sleep, she finagles her way into a regular slot with a therapist (Gregg Turkington) who grasps for prospective role models. When an unexpected promotion at work thrusts Donya into the position to write her own story, she communicates her loneliness and longing through a concise medium: the fortunes inside each cookie. Donya’s koans travel, making a humble social impact and expanding her world far beyond Fremont and her turbulent past, including an encounter with a quiet auto mechanic (Jeremy Allen White) who could stand to see his own world expanded. Tenderly sculpted and lyrically shot in black-and-white, Babak Jalali’s FREMONT is a wry, deadpan vision of the universal longing for home.
“A drama with a spare, wry tone that belies its earnest and ample substance.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“A cross-cultural comedy that explores the freedom of being lost and the exhilaration of finding oneself” – Mark Olsen, LA Times
“A coolly deadpan comedy. Fremont is reminiscent of Aki Kaurismaki and Jim Jarmusch.” – Amy Taubin, Artforum
“Honest and hopeful. An ode to the universal beauty and restless pull of human connection.” – Tomris Laffly, Harper’s Bazaar