Kashokhin: A Tale of Oil Smugglers

Iran has a constant presence in almost all the most prestigious film festivals, where some directors, such as the late “Abbas Kiarostami”, the Oscar-winning “Ashgar Farhadi” or the recently arrested and convicted “Jafar Panahi”, are revered and idolized. Before I found out about the mini-series “Kashokhin”, the field of television was much more unknown to me at all levels, since I was always short of time to open the Iranian file on my workdays on Mondays and I had only made a passing mention of the series “Shahrzad” on one of my yearly lists.

“One of the most exotic series I have seen…”   |   Lorenzo Mejino

“Kashokhin” is one of the most exotic series I have seen lately and it can be considered an Iranian neo-western, with a protagonist who roams the deserts of southern Iran and neighboring countries in search of revenge. It is shot with very elaborate shots and with great artistic ambition. All these factors make it a true rarity. It has started an international career in some Anglo-Saxon countries from where I have received a version in Persian with English subtitles. I am going to present it to you below.

The plot: Ghasem is an oil smuggler with tankers and is based in the city of Gerash, the very center of the desert in the south of Iran. His life is turned upside down when his close friend, Hamzeh, dies suspiciously in a strange car accident. Ghasem decides to drop everything and search for those responsible for the death of his friend and avenge his blood. Ghasem embarks on a solo journey of no return where little by little he collects information from person to person in the midst of such an aggressive environment in the inhospitable arid lands of southern Iran. There are oil smugglers from whose ships they have stolen and that circulate in the Strait of Hormuz, coming from the United Arab Emirates and more specifically from Dubai, where Ghasem has to make a stop on his search for revenge.

“Kashokhin” has a clear western structure and takes place in a lawless territory dominated by all kinds of smugglers and outlaws who act with unusual violence to defend what they consider theirs.

“Kashokhin” is a personal project of the young creator Keivan Mohseni, a native of Gerash, who wanted to explain the reality of an area that he knows perfectly well but is unknown even to the inhabitants of the Iranian capital, Tehran. His approach is clearly a “road-movie” with several stages that bring Ghasem closer to his final goal. The journey takes him throughout the south of the country and even to Dubai.

A curious fact is the almost total absence of women in all the frames of “Kashokhin”, where they do not even appear as extras. The only exception is the presence of the Moldovan actress Valeriia Tsvietok who appears in only one episode as Daria, a Russian spy and “femme fatale” who crosses the path of poor Ghasem.

The almost unknown Iranian actor Saleh Shahbazi who plays the role of the protagonist, Ghasem, is successful in bringing to life this desperate character who is only moved by his desire for revenge and is capable of exercising violence to extreme limits.

“Kashokhin” has a structure of very short episodes of almost twenty minutes, so its total duration is similar to that of a movie; however, I was happy to watch it in its original capsules so as not to saturate myself with exoticism and to have time to absorb Ghasem’s adventures throughout that unknown region including tunnels and all kinds of smugglers structures.

If you are curious about exotic series or if you like Iranian cinema, “Kashokhin” can be a good introduction to Iranian television production and listening to Farsi language. I know that it is available on Prime video in many countries but I do not know if it is available in ours, so I am going to leave you with its official trailer, in case you want to dive into searching in your networks.