Who were the Sons of Sinbad? What are their achievements? What is their legacy? To answer these questions, the German-Omani team led by director Friedrich Klütsch spent three years tracing the amazing and mostly unknown history of Oman.
Archives in Oman, Portugal, Zanzibar and China were visited, experts around the world were questioned, and key events reenacted at original locations. Wherever possible, authentic sets were used, or recreated in accordance with the advice of experts. The main emphasis of the production, however, lies not with the historical accuracy of props and costumes, but with the identification of specific traits and attitudes that pervade Omani history.
The stories told here reflect the open-mindedness and tolerance of a people who, through their merchants and sailors over the centuries, learned to peacefully interact with many cultures and religions.
In the Making is also the Message
“Sons of Sinbad” is a film trilogy intended for everyone, whether viewing from an eastern or western perspective. It’s about the people, their way of thinking, their shared values. It’s a departure from the Eurocentrist view of history, and it acknowledges that religion permeates everyday life and embues one with the strength to achieve what seems humanly impossible. It’s a presentation of the little-known school of thought, Ibadhiyah, which was so important for the development of Islam in the Far East and East Africa.
We did not set out to merely present the past, but rather to show the continuing ramifications and ongoing legacy of this history.
We deliberately chose not to engage professional actors. The amateur performers here trace and experience their own history together with the viewers. More than 120 people, about half of them from Oman, were involved in the creation of these films.
The success of this Omani-German venture demonstrates that constructive cooperation between East and West is, contrary to widespread opinion, quite possible even today.
Episode 1: MONSOON EMPIRE
Arabic chronicles tell of the merchant and scholar Abu Ubayda Al Qassim, who sailed the maritime silk road between Oman and China in the middle of the 8th century.
Episode 2: THE ROUTE TO INDIA
At the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese reached the coast of Oman, which raises the question: What made it possible for a few hundred invaders to conquer and retain important ports and trading centers for more than a century? From 1622 resistance was formed, which until the middle of the 17th century not only unified the tribes of Oman, but also led to the complete reconquest of the occupied territories.
Episode 3: THE CALL OF ZANZIBAR
At the beginning of the 19th century, Sayyid Said bin Sultan added large parts of the Swahili coast of East Africa to his dominions. Oman becomes a great empire with land masses some 3000 nautical miles apart. The territory was governed by the sons of the ruler using ships, which depended on the tradewinds of the monsoon until the invention of steamship. The third part of the Sindbad trilogy examines the question of whether the unity of the Omani empire can endure in the face of internal and external threats.