The indigenous Denetclaw family lives on the Prairie Wolf reservation. Wesley, one of three adult brothers, is an alcoholic. Since alcohol is forbidden within the boundaries of the reservation, his mother drops him off every morning in front of a liquor store at the border where he spends the rest of the day knocking back beer. The eldest brother Raymond works on a cattle ranch. In the evening, the family silently gathers in front of the TV to watch ‘Bonanza’. When they receive the news that Floyd, the youngest Denetclaw and commander of a unit in Afghanistan has been killed in action, they find themselves confronted with the U.S. government’s absurd set of rules and measures regarding the repatriation of his body. Raymond, Wesley and their relatives have to think carefully about what is important – both for them as a family and as members of a marginalised group.
The soundscape of this anti-western consists of bellowing cattle, the squeaking of a windmill and the baleful beauty and desperation of folk songs. A film about pride, homeland and weakness that also provides a visually powerful, profound commentary on the situation of Native Americans in the USA.
by Babak Jalali
with Rod Rondeaux, Florence Klein, Wilma Pelly, James Coleman, Georgina Lightning, Antonia Steinberg, Andrew Katers, Griffin Burns, Mark Mahoney, Barnet Rogers
Italy / France / Netherlands / Mexico / Qatar 2018 English 111’


  • Rod Rondeaux (Raymond Denetclaw)
  • Florence Klein (Sally)
  • Wilma Pelly (Mary Denetclaw)
  • James Coleman (Wesley Denetclaw)
  • Georgina Lightning (Bettie)
  • Antonia Steinberg (Rosie)
  • Andrew Katers (Peter)
  • Griffin Burns (Eli)
  • Mark Mahoney (Major Robertson)
  • Barnet Rogers (Sam)


Written and Directed by Babak Jalali
Cinematography Agnès Godard
Editing Nico Leunen
Music Jozef van Wissem
Sound Design Stefano Grosso
Sound Eddy de Cloe
Production Design Dimitri Capuani
Costumes Carolina Olcese
Make-Up Marly van de Wardt
Casting Orlette Ruiz
Assistant Director Barbara Melega
Production Manager Alejandro Sanchez
Executive Producers Gianfranco Barbagallo, Gabriel Stavenhagen, Julio Chavezmontes
Producers Ginevra Elkann, Christophe Audeguis
Co-Producers Frans van Gestel, Arnold Heslenfeld, Laurette Schillings, Julio Chavezmontes, Gabriel Stavenhagen, Dominique Marzotto
Co-Production Topkapi Films Amsterdam
Piano Mexico City
To Be Continued Paris
RAI Cinema Rom

World sales

Produced by

Asmara Films

The Cup of Tea

Babak Jalali

Born in Iran in 1978, he has lived in London since 1986. He studied Balkan and East European studies as well as politics at University College London and then attended London Film School. His debut feature film Frontier Blues premiered in competition at Locarno and received multiple awards at international festivals. His second feature film Radio Dreams won the 2016 Hivos Tiger Awards Competition in Rotterdam.


2005 Heydar, an Afghan in Tehran; short film 2009 Frontier Blues 2016 Radio Dreams 2018 Land

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018