Title: 'Socotra, the Island of Djinns'. Based on the book “Socotra, la isla de los genios” by Jordi Esteva (Atalanta Ediciones)
Production: Siwa Productions
Lenght: 64 min 30 seg
Language: Socotrian (Island of Socotra. Yemen)
Subtitles: English, spanish, french and catalan
Proportion ratio: 16:9
Filmed: Island of Socotra (Yemen) during 2014
Shooting Format: Full HD
Screening Format: DCP, Bluray
Production Year: 2016
Director: Jordi Esteva
Camera operators: Albert Serradó, Jordi Esteva and Albert Buendía
Sound: Jordi Tresserras
Edition: Santy Borricón
Video Postproduction: Fromzero
Audio Postproduction: Tacto Sonoro
Line Production (local): Ahmed Ali Aissa Ben Afrar and Abdulraoof Abdullah Salem Aljamhi in Socotra, Yemen. Abdulwahab Abdullah Salem Aljamhi in Dubai, EAU.
Director’s personal assistant: Ahmed Saad Ahmed Shidrahi
Distribution and Press: Johanna Tonini
“Socotra, the island of djinns” is based on the book “Socotra, la isla de los genios” published by Atalanta ediciones.
The film is the story of a trip on the remote island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean, known in antiquity for its Phoenix and Rukh birds. In the rest of the Indian Ocean, the monsoon winds, have propitiated commerce and civilisation. Without any bay or natural port and surrounded by reefs, Socotra is isolated during the monsoon when is imposible to land. This isolation has preserved a unique environment.
Frankincense and myrrh trees grow freely on Socotra.The dragon blood tree unique to the island has sap that is a red as blood. It was used by the gladiators of Ancient Rome to cover their skin and to protect it from injuries. The varnish that gave a unique and precious touch to Stradivarius violins, is also credited to the sap of the tree, a secret kept by the luthiers of Cremona. On the journey are Ahmed Afrar, youngest son of the late sultan of Socotra, some companions and three cameleers with their animals. They trek to the mountains before the rainy season.
En route to visit relatives, the socotrians speak tell stories by the fire. During the night, conversation turns to legends of djinns and monstrous snakes that dwell in the cavernous interior of the island. A surprising and vanishing world is revealed. Is the first and only movie spoken entirelly in the genuine socotrian language, A southern arabian language related to the old language of the Kingdom of Sheba.
Socotra lies in the Indian Ocean between the African Horn and the Arabian peninsula. Its size is similar to the island of Mallorca. In the rest of the Indian Ocean, the monsoon winds, have propitiated commerce and civilisation. Without any bay or natural port and surrounded by reefs,
Socotra is isolated during the monsoon when is imposible to land. This isolation has preserved a unique environment.
Frankincense and myrrh trees grow freely on Socotra. The dragon blood tree unique to the island has sap that is a red as blood. It was used by the gladiators of Ancient Rome to cover their skin and to protect it from injuries. The varnish that gave a unique and precious touch to Stradivarius violins, is also credited to the sap of the tree, a secret kept by the luthiers of Cremona. These products brought Indians, Greeks, and southern Arabs to the island, after them came pirates.
Socotra was the island where Gilgamesh found the plant of immortality. For the Egyptians it was “The land of the genii”, the manuscript of the “Wrecked Sailor” tells the story and is preserved in The Hermitage of Saint Petersburg. Herodotus said that the Phoenix dwelled in the mountains of Socotra and Arab sailors thought that the Rukh bird of Sinbad, nested there. According to Marco Polo the socotrians were the most powerful magicians of the known world.
The Portuguese conquered Socotra to defend its maritime route to India. Since the late XIX century Socotra was a British protectorate. Although ruled by a sultan, the British incorporated the island in the new communist government of South Yemen in 1967. During the Soviet era the island was believed to support a submarine base.
The isolation of centuries ended with the arrival of its first commercial flights. Hadibou, the main settlement, and its surroundings, show some changes, but most of the island remains a remote and fascinating place. The Socotra of the old days, can be found on the heights of the Haggar Mountains where the old birds of the ancients nested and where the Uranus god had its throne before being castrated by its son Cronos.
The Socotrans of today know their own legends but have forgotten those of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, neither do they remember the stories recounted by Renaissance travellers.
Writer and photograph specialised in Africa and Middle East. Lived 5 years in Cairo and other african cities. In 2010 he started filming documentaries –mostly in Black and White- centered in the worlds that are vanishing like the animism in Africa or the remote island of
2010 “Return to the Land of Souls”
2015 ”Socotra, the Island of Djinns”
More information in: www.jordiesteva.com
“ Extraordinary, beautiful and passionate, this melancholic journey to the forgotten island of Sindbad ”
“ An introduction to a long-disappeared world, the film keeps the sense of an inaccessible mystery until its final image ”