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Young Afghan Donya fled to Fremont in northern California, where she spends her days between a fortune cookie factory, weekly therapy sessions, and the loneliness in her small apartment.


Young Afghan Donya (Anaita Wali Zada) worked as a translator for the US military in Kabul until she was forced to flee to Fremont in northern California after the Taliban takeover. Plagued by guilt and insomnia, triggered by the thoughts of the family she left behind, she spends her days between monotonous work in a cookie fortune factory, weekly therapy sessions with a pro-bono therapist (Gregg Turkington) and the loneliness of her small apartment. When the writer of the fortune cookie messages dies on the job, Donya takes her chance and, in search of a meaningful connection, mixes a piece of paper with her phone number into the fortune cookies.

Babak Jalali’s FREMONT is a decelerated mix of immigration drama and comedy with dust-dry humor and a subtle critique of the “American Dream.“ Jalali captures this sadness which rules over Donya’s life in beautiful black and white images and skillfully plays with the compositions in the 4:3 image format. His style is clearly reminiscent of Jim Jarmusch’s work, but doesn’t feel like a copy. The film limits itself to a short, almost conflict-free part of Donya’s life which feels like the first act of a more classic romance yet gives a complete impression into the emotional world of the protagonist. FREMONT doesn’t center Donya’s escape or problems with xenophobia or integration, it depicts people with longings and emotions. Interpersonal encounters are real and human, but feel as though they’ve been filmed through Donya’s insomnia, as if every sentence, every act is enveloped by a veil of tiredness.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


USA 2023, 91 min
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Director: Babak Jalali
Author: Carolina Cavalli, Babak Jalali
DOP: Laura Valladao
Montage: Babak Jalali
Music: Mahmoud Schricker
Distributor: trigon film
Cast: Anaita Wali Zada, Jeremy Allen White, Gregg Turkington, Hilda Schmelling, Siddique Ahmed
Release: 09.11.2023



  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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