SIFF 2022: Know Your Place

Know your place (2022 | United States | 118 min | Zia Mohajerjasbi)

Seattle rarely looks as good in film as it does when directing Zia Mohajerjasbi. After making a name for himself over a decade ago with breakout videos for Blue Scholars and Macklemore, picked up a Foreign Genius Award, and building a resume with short films, he returned to familiar parts for his film debut. In collaboration with cinematographer Nicholas Wiesnet, he brings the rich textures of the city to the screen in a poetic tale of the wayward journey of an oversized suitcase en route from the Central District to East Africa.

Our guides in this involuntary odyssey are two young people of fifteen: Robel Haile (Joseph Smith, Eritrean-American) and his best friend Fahmi Tadesse (Nathanael Moges, Ethiopian-American). After receiving a call from a brother-in-law in Eritrea desperate for money and medical supplies to help a sick child, Robel’s recently widowed mother – who is already struggling to keep her family together – prepared a care package, but is too absorbed in work to put it in the hands of family friends who will take it to Africa. So in the hands of his reserved son, each stumble adds layers of complexity and opportunities to share ideas about the sprawling community.

Whether it’s drone shots of fog-shrouded residential communities, human-scale views of children navigating downtown streets, or a drizzly twilight evening, the city – whether it’s either the parts that grow or disappear – is portrayed with reverent familiarity. It’s an intimate view that’s as lucid about the danger the boys face from aggressive cops or nosy neighbors worried about dark-skinned kids they deem out of place, as it celebrates the wealthy and caring network that keeps them alive. supports. The film’s pacing is languid at times and the plot meanders to be more inclusive, but if you settle in, you’ll be happy to hang out with a community where friends know the right time to hug you. , a distant uncle will offer you a free taxi ride as long as he’s on his way, and a family friend will scold you for being so late while simultaneously insisting that you already sit down to eat something.


























Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Know your place had its world premiere at the 48th Seattle International Film Festival where it won the Golden Space Needle Audience Award. It seeks to be distributed.

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