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Why the Djinn Disappeared

Aiysha Hart plays the role of Sarah in Djinn, to be released in 2013.

Aiysha Hart plays the role of Sarah in Djinn, to be released in 2013.

A new movie that was hailed as a groundbreaking film for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) film industry disappeared from the line-up at commercial theaters in December. That movie is called Djinn and tells the story of “An Emirati couple return home from a trip and discover that their new apartment has been built on a site that is home to some malevolent beings.”

Of course, I’m eager to see this film. It’s more research for me, accompanied by popcorn. I’d love to see a popular cinematic interpretation of the jinn. But it’s not to be. My mind runs right to supernatural sabotage. But that’s just my fiction imagination in overdrive….or is it? According to this article in The Guardian, the more likely reason is that UAE royal family found the film objectionable because of certain  politically subversive messages.  Here’s the reasoning in The Guardian article:

Then Djinn vanished. It didn’t appear at the Dubai film festival, where it had been offered a red-carpet premiere. Promised spring and summer 2012 release dates came and went. It was puzzling: shooting on the story – a Rosemary’s Baby-esque spooker set in a fishing village redevelopment in Ras al-Khaimah – was nearly a year back; post-production almost six months gone.

After Djinn’s Cannes launch in 2010 hailing the country’s entry into the commercial fast-lane and the early rash of publicity in government-sponsored publications, the silence was deafening. With Hooper’s imprimatur and an intriguing collision of modern genre thrills and traditional Arabic culture, Djinn had the potential finally to bring global attention to the fledgling UAE film scene ; “a much-awaited film for all our distributors around the world”, Fortissimo, Image Nation’s international sales agent, was saying. But come the end of the year, more tumbleweed.

Shortly after the London screening, an Italian website, Moviesushi, printed a possible reason for Djinn’s disappearance. According to a source on the production: “Someone close to Abu Dhabi’s royal family has seen the movie and does not appreciate its portrayal of the UAE, and considers the movie to be politically subversive.” The old suspicion surrounding the Emirati industry had risen again: that it was too tightly supervised from above (usually through the National Media Council censorship body) to blossom freely.

This movie also called Djinn was released in 2008.

This movie also called Djinn was released in 2008.

This excuse is immediately countered. Other views contend that the Arab Spring heightened Arab pride to the point where there would be little interest in a Western-packaged take on cultural legends. Who really knows? An actual genie might.

The latest news says that Djinn will be released in 2013. We’ll see. I’m rubbing my lamp and waiting for the popcorn to pop.

Meanwhile, another film called Djinn was released in 2008 that tells the story of a beautiful woman who is snatched by a genie and must be rescued by her true love who must cross the “three valleys of the Black Desert” to save her. I saw it. It’s okay. For a better story, I think you should pick up The Genie Ignites. ; )

Best Wishes,
What Would You Wish For?

Alex Cross vs. The Genie Ignites

What a coincidence that a new movie based on James Patterson’s Alex Cross character and my book trailer are released on the same day. Cross is going to have some tough competition when he goes up against Zubis from The Genie Ignites. I’ve read and enjoyed many of Patterson’s thrillers featuring Alex Cross as the protagonist. Whether Tyler Perry can pull off the rough, tough, and hard-to-bluff fictional detective remains to be seen. Last we saw Perry, he was wearing a blue-rinse wig as Madea. I enjoy Perry’s acting  and the trailer sure does put you on edge (However, I don’t particularly enjoy a villain holding a sharp pruner that close to a woman’s bound fingers).

There are many similarities between the two heroes: Cross is devoted to his wife, determined to stop a killer, ruthless when he has to be. Zubis, too, is devoted to Bethany O’Brien, determined to stop more than one killer who threatens Bethany and, frankly, global security, and ruthless even when he doesn’t have to be. Just because he can. More similarities? Let’s see. Perry wears a dress as Madea. Zubis wore a skirt back in the day…when it was fashionable for men to wear skirts.

I contend that one may depict tension as well as romance, determination as well as sensitivity, exotic locales and fancy threads without all the shooting. Okay, so genies don’t require guns to get the job done (though there are scenes of humans coming at Zubis with guns; so you’ll still get some mayhem). But the panache with which Zubis dispatches his enemies just may tip the scales against Alex Cross. Why don’t you be the judge.  Gratuitous or fortuitous? Practical or mystical? Gore or allure? Cross or Zubis?

Alex Cross starring Tyler Perry:

The Genie Ignites book trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Oh, and you can pick up The Genie Ignites for a mere $3.99. Get yourself some microwave popcorn, snuggle down on your couch, and you just saved yourself $30 minimum at the theater and uncomfortable theater seats.

(That’s what you call “shameless self-promotion.” More about that next week. I don’t think that shame should have anything to do with promoting a book.)

Until next time,

Best Wishes

 Team Zubis
On Kindle. On Nook.


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