"I am a house, a house on Zanzibar. I used to be a palace.
My rooms are now empty. Only their size recalls the splendor of days gone by - when I was known as the 'House of Wonders'.
Let me speak as if I were still a 'House of Wonders' — speak of my builders; of the guests who filled my rooms with life. Follow me in their footsteps and see what's left of them - of their world and their accomplishments.
A House of Wonders is a German-Omani coproduction investigating the historical relations between Oman and East Africa while taking the arrival of the European colonial powers into account. Narrated by the Beit al Ajaib as a material witness to this relationship, the films follow the biographies of three pivotal characters covering a span of 150 years.
Local experts as well as international scholars contribute to a multi-perspective approach seeking to bridge the rift that resulted in fractured identities on all sides.
Episode 1: A Trader’s Empire
Sayyid Said bin Sultan
Episode 2: The Age of Caravans
Episode 3: The Voice of Mombasa
Mubarak Al Hinawy
a 100 minutes cinema version:
A House of Wonders
It took more than two years to complete the editing and computer genereated scenes of this opus.
We had the unique opportunity to tell the story with great CGI effort from the point of view of the Beit al Ajaib palace. For me, this project was the perfection of the idea of adding a third dimension to the dramaturgical narrative: the temporally linear timeline is supplemented by a spatial narrative dramaturgy. Here, completely new possibilities of cinematic narration emerge: The story is told looking through the doors and windows of the palace, inside the exhibits and even in the underground of the building.
The house itself tells its chequered story, the story of the many exchanges between Oman and East Africa.