Facets Cinémathèque

Archives +

December 16–22, 2016

Chicago Premiere

Filmmaker Musa Syeed in person!

A Stray

Buy tickets
Film still: A Stray Film still: A Stray Film still: A Stray


Critics' Pick "The substantial pleasures of the movie are supplemented by the gratification of seeing an emerging talent with concerns far outside the conventional indie realm asserting himself with such authority"
  —New York Times
Critics' Pick
  —Village Voice
"Barkhand another standout performance"
  —Spirituality and Practice
"Modest, but has an earned emotional payoff"
  —Chicago Tribune
4 stars "In addition to being a tender film about a man finding redemption in caring for a canine, [Musa] Syeed's pious film is refreshing, showing us a corner of America that we never see"
  — "Syeed...depicts the [Minneapolis Somali] community with substance and nuance"
  —Chicago Reader

On the run from a host of misfortunes, Somali immigrant Adan (Abdirahman, Captain Phillips) finds himself on the streets of Minneapolis after his mother kicks him out and his friends deny him refuge. His prospects start looking up when he finds shelter and a new job at a local mosque, but he is evicted when he brings in a stray dog, whose presence is deemed impure by members of the Muslim community. Homeless again, he must navigate the pressures brought on by his newfound faith, past friends, his estranged family, an old flame, and an FBI agent who hopes to enlist him as an informant. The dog may be his only friend as he tries to keep his faith and get through the night.

Gritty and beautifully shot, Musa Syeed's sophomore feature is a moving look at the Twin Cities' underrepresented refugee community, the largest group of Somali-Americans in the country. Residents say they are only portrayed on film as terrorists, pirates and soldiers and A Stray challenges these stereotypes while also being a work of contemporary neo-realism. Musa Syeed (Valley of Saints) brilliantly and truthfully portrays an American reality unknown to most and fearfully misconstrued by others.

Directed by Musa Syeed, 2016, U. S.A., 82 mins. In English and Somali with English subtitles.

Filmmaker Musa Syeed will be here for a Q&A on Saturday, December 17 following the 7 p.m. screening and will introduce the 9 p.m. screening. He will also be here for the 5 p.m. screening on Sunday, December 18 and will introduce the 7 p.m. screening.


  • Fri., Dec. 16 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Dec. 17 at 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., Dec. 18 at 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., Dec. 19–22 at 7 & 9 pm
Buy tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation