Fremont, a not-so-subtle nod to film noir concerning the struggles of the life of an Afghan immigrant in California, the pursuit of love and a healthy dose of mundanity, is a curious little piece. A tale of small increments, it amounts ultimately to very little as far as plot development goes, but despite this, the characters explored – most particularly Donya, performed by Anaita Wali Zada and around whom the movie is centred – are enlightening and just a little perplexing.
A distinct Wes Anderson-ness hangs around Fremont with its symmetry and ever-changing speaker profile shots. The application of occasional but well-placed wit also commends it to this category. This is not an unwelcome trope in terms of the film’s style and presentation, but it does tie into the renowned director’s style to the extent that it flirts with unoriginality.
The characters in Donya’s life are an eclectic bunch – colleagues at the fortune cookie factory in which she works, fellow Afghans who have also immigrated – and they vary somewhat in terms of their performance. Instances of neat comic timing and profound earnestness are contrasted upon occasion with flat, lifeless deliveries. She finds difficulty reconciling her former role as a translator for the US army in her homeland with the fellow Afghanistan nationals who now surround her, and this isolation is conveyed chillingly and convincingly.
Fremont is not hard and fast entertainment – it lurks in that strange grey area between blockbuster for the big screen and outright art piece, and the result is baffling, but not in an irritating sense. More a case for curiosity than incomprehension; this is the judgement call that has been made so well for the creation of Fremont, and it renders it a very consumable feature in a unique and enticing way.
Fremont is released in select cinemas on 22nd September 2023.
Watch the trailer for Fremont here: