2020 / 17 minutes

Directed by
Timothy Cooper Abeera Arif-Bashir
Country of production
Shorts Collection 2

This short film is a multi-platform sound essay. It is primarily illustrated with still images, that conjure an atmosphere of intimacy and intensity of the majlis-e-aza, a mourning gathering central to communal worship for Shi’a Muslims. Majlis gatherings ritually commemorate the sufferings and sacrifices of the family of the Prophet Muhammad. Amongst the often-embattled Shi’a minority which account for a fifth of Pakistan’s population, these gatherings have become a daily occurrence. With the arrival of home recording technology in the early 1980s, many started to record majlis gatherings and the sermons and laments featured. Soon, their activities led to the appearance of family-run Shi’a religious media stores operating beside Muslim shrines or in Shi’a-majority neighborhoods. Such marketplace producers have helped create a distinct aesthetic of Shi’a religious media in Pakistan, where the atmospheric qualities of live recording mediate the conditions of co-presence.

In the 2021 RAI Film Fest
Language and subtitles
Urdu with English subtitles
South Asia
Music/Ethnomusicology Urban Art/ Aritists/ Artisans Social Change

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