Everyone in the English speaking world knows about the mythical genies from the story of Aladdin but not many people know how complex the Arabian/Islamic view of them is. Jinn, as they are so aptly named, are not just big blue sentient beings who pop out of lanterns and grant wishes to their masters. Unlike the popular ’60s sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie,” Jinn can take many forms such as demons, Aliens, fairies, animals, angels, ghosts, humans and insects(who knows, maybe when you have a supernatural experience, it’s actually just a Jinni). They also maintain a wide variety of MOs. The Jinn of “The 1001 Nights” are more likened to the Divs of Hindu mythology, embellished to fit the tastes of Persia. On some accounts, including those of pre-Islamic Arabia, there can be both good and evil Jinn, still there is always a tone of caution when dealing with them, especially after the rise of Islam as they are considered spiritual entities who fall under the reign of Satan himself. In fact, Satan is Considered a Jinni as well, the first disobedient one to be exact. It’s important to note that Jinn are not fallen angels, only the disobedient ones are considered shayateen(satans). Before Man was made of clay, Angels were made of light and Jinn were made of smokeless fire and sometimes air. There are also many different classifications of them as follows: 

  •      Ifrit: The most powerful and wicked of all the Jinn, think of it as a demon who is within the highest ranks just below Satan. 
  •      Marid: Less powerful than the Ifrit however still mighty in their evil deeds.
  •      Shayateen: Consider these the minions of corruption, little devils if you will, they represent pure evil and, like other evil jinn, are believed to be the cause of disease and natural disasters as well as being the influence behind a human’s malevolent vigor.
  •      Ghul: Blood thirsty zombie like creatures who probably personify the origins of vampire lore. Like vampires they are nocturnal and have a habit of long slumbers in conspicuous graves. The female version-Ghula-resembles that of a succubus as they impersonate attractive mortal women and lure an unsuspecting man into marriage who she then feeds on.
  •     Si’Lat: A female shape shifter who is often seen as cat-like but can mimic human appearance with ease like that of the Ghula. They are said to be the most cunning and could be equated with the Kitsune of Japan.
  •      Jann: Said to be the most immature of the Jinn, they can appear as white camels or whirlwinds and can indeed favor humans if they like them. These are the ones who would reveal an oasis to you, if you’re lucky. Considered the lowest and weakest class and the enemies of the Ghul.
  •      Jinn: The most common type, although it is used as a collective term in the Qu’ran it also refers to the jinn which you might encounter in everyday life. 
  •      Nasnas/Shiqq: Half bodied-vertically not horizontally-hostile creature, often very weak.
  •      Palis: Probably the strangest of them all, this vampiric type wanders through the deserts in search of  travelers to feed on. They do this by licking the soles of their feet but, as they are the most unintelligent of the Jinn, they can be fooled by sleeping with your head on top of your travel buddy’s feet.
  • Colors: there is also a color classification system

            -Blue: the oldest and most wise, often uncertain about humans.

            -Black: Very powerful, said to be the royalty of the Jinn

            -Yellow: Leaders of families and small clans. Less powerful than Blue but more powerful than Green.

            -Red: Hostile and aggressive jinn.

            -Green: Young and immature jinn, often playful and mischievous.

     Please note that even though not all Jinn are considered demonic and are capable of good-they can still be and usually are tricky, precarious entities. Also, the subject of Jinn is not very objective at all, different autonomous regions of the middle east have different localized types of Jinn so really once you get into it, the way different Jinn are regarded varies widely by both source and location. 

     There is not much in the way of “good” Jinn which match that of the ‘Ifrit or the Marid, There can be common Jinn which may out rank them in color and maybe favor a specific human. So say a human has a companion Jinn(Qareed) which is Blue and a green Marid were to threaten the lively-hood of said human, if the Companion Jinn were to favor that human for whatever reason, said Blue genie would be able to fend off that Marid. As for sentient beings who are completely dedicated to good, that is reserved for the angels of which both are assigned to humans and assigned tasks. That being said, while someone may be in good graces with their companion Jinn, they may be selfish and want to capture another more powerful Jinn such as the ‘Ifrit. One story tells of how an ‘Ifrit enslaved to king Solomon fetched the throne of the Queen of Sheba for him under the power of his Copper and Iron possibly gem stone laden ring. Trying to invoke a Jinni can be very dangerous however, one ritual in particular(of which the source is available only in forums due to it being translated from Arabic) requires a fasting period of about a week I believe-which is cutting it close-and then isolation for 40 days and forty nights along with various acts such as daily baths, sprinkling rose water in the corners of the room, constant recitations and minimal sleep which if needed must be done sitting up. As you can see Jinn are not something to be merely dabbled with. There are more cons than pros of meddling in Jinn activity as more often than not they are very hazardous to the well-being of humans.

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“‘Djin’ is the name of a spirit that’s in a wind. That wind blows every 30 years. It selects people but nobody knows why or who. It blows, and removes whatever uncertainties a person has about whatever it is they care about the most, leaving them to take action.”

This is how director Hawa Essuman introduces the video story of her new film Djin, that she has been writing in recent months, and which bears the name of a magical wind which crosses the lives of the protagonists.  

Along with the transformations of each character, the film offers a fresh look at the locations in which it is set, along the Kenyan coastline.
 
Hawa Essuman is a young director of Ghanaian origin who is based in Nairobi.  She first approached the world of cinema as an actress, but later decided to focus solely on directing.  In 2008, after short films, ads for television and music videos, she made the feature length film  Soul Boy, which was produced by Tom Tykwer, and presented at more than 40 international festivals, where it won numerous awards including the audience award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. MORE

Part 2: Treatment and Production

Part 3: Writing

Part 4: Crowdfunding

Part 5: Fund

Part 6: Location

Published on Apr 2, 2014

the director’s eye project is supported by lettera27 Foundation of Milan and promotes African cinema, in particular the writing and preproduction phases. These are some of the most delicate periods in the development of a film project and are rarely supported by other funds or prizes. the director’s eye was launched in 2012, in collaboration with the Festival de Cinema Africano de Cordoba and the co-production forum Africa Produce, and curated by Vanessa Lanari.

A jury comprising Nigerian director Newton I. Aduaka and South African producer Steven Markovitz selected Hawa Essuman’s Djin as the winning project for lettera27’s fund. During the course of 2013, after the award was assigned, lettera27 followed the work on Djin and offered its author the opportunity to talk about the project in a series of videos.

Video by Istituto Micropunta Interviews: Claudia D’Alonzo and Vanessa Lanari Video Footage: Hawa Essuman Editing: Istituto Micropunta Sound: Istituto Micropunta Camera DOP: Flavio Toffoli Project Manager: Cristina Perillo Thanks to: Newton Aduaka, Mane Cisneros, Carlos Dominguez, Steven Markovitz and Moleskine This video is realized in CC BY SA www.lettera27.org

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