The first Concordia Ethnography Lab film night of the semester is coming up on February 9th, 2024, at 6:30 pm, this time at the VA-114 Cinema. We will be screening Meezan (2023) by Shahab Mihandoust followed by a Q&A with the director. Free! No registration! All are invited!
Set in south-western Iran, in the province of Khuzestan and bordering with Iraq, Meezan (Scale) is an observational and immersive experience, a journey from the sea to the land, about labor at the margins of petro-capitalism in three chapters.
Departing from the shore of Abadan, the first oil company-town in the Middle East, it follows a group of Arab fisherman who exemplify the realities of maintaining intergenerational ways of living and working on the sea. The men lead us to Bahrakan harbor where they barter for their share of the catch. What is contemporaneously a meeting place for fishmongering was a site of arduous migration for refugees fleeing Abadan after the mass destruction of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980’s. Meezan concludes in a secluded shrimp processing plant on the outskirts of Abadan where women who are shuttled in from surrounding villages furiously peel and devein shrimps in their own race for wages.
Despite the massive industrialization of the region, waterways of Khuzestan remain a significant source of income for the native communities who are most intimately connected to these embattled landscapes, and Meezan is a reflection on the relation between bodies and scales to acknowledge the weight of the past and its consequences in the present.
Shahab was born and raised in Tehran before he moved to Tio’tia:ke/Montreal in 2004. Inspired by ethnographic approaches to research and creation, his documentary practice stands at the intersection between cinema and anthropology, and his work often approaches the entanglement of identity and labor in everyday life practices; and as they relate to natural and built environments to understand the impacts of social, cultural and political processes on people and places.