The Storehouses of the World

Recording, Retrieval, and Resilience in Lahore
27 minutes / Colour / 2018
Directed by
Timothy Cooper Abeera Arif-Bashir

Country of production Pakistan

In the Pakistani city of Lahore an audiocassette recorded decades ago deep among the crowd at a ritual mourning procession continues to circulate in the neighbourhood in which it was first made. During the first ten days of Muharram, in which the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his family is commemorated, film and music are avoided to preserve the period of mourning. In their place amateur recordings of mourning gatherings, laments, and recitations are distributed to video markets, replacing their usual repertoire of domestic “Lollywood” films and foreign bootlegs. Produced and released by small “cassette and video houses” often operating near Imam Bargahs or shrines associated with Shia Muslim communities, these recordings travel on the circulatory networks maintained by the ever-shrinking trade in pirated and informal video in Pakistan. The Storehouses of the World is a story of recording, retrieval, and resilience, of the entanglement of capacious media technologies and the public piety of the minority Shia population in Lahore.

In the 2019 RAI Film Fest

Language and subtitles Urdu English

Location(s) depicted Lahore, Pakistan