Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Watch Egyptian and Lebanese women pioneer Filmmakers : The true legends "Updated"

Cairo is currently hosting its 41st International Film Festival and I believe it is one of its best editions.
Having a Martin Scorsese's film like The Irishman to open the festival and to have its first Middle East Premiere in Cairo is a big thing for cinema lovers in Egypt.
Needless to say, I read very good reviews of it from Egyptian viewers who waited to see it since 9 AM to watch it.
I am waiting to see it after a few hours inshallah on Netflix.
This year also it was announced the US’s Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences aka of Oscars awarded the Festival OSCAR qualifying film festival status.
The winner of the Best Short Film award in the Short film competition ‘Cinema of Tomorrow’ section will eligible for consideration in the Animated and Live Action Short Film Categories of the ACADEMY AWARDS without the standard theatrical run,” CIFF said in its statement about the big achievement.
CIFF is the only and first film festivals in North Africa to join the list of qualifying international film festival joining other big film festivals like Cannes, Venice and Berlin

I must say that Mohamed Hefzy, the head of the CIFF succeeded this year.
Yes, it is not all glitz like Gouna Film Festival but CIFF proved it can overcome and survive against all odds. 
Youssef Cherif Rizallah is surely proud in his grave that his efforts in the CIFF have not gone in vain.

Now among the things I like about the CIFF this year is its tribute to pioneer Egyptian and Lebanese women filmmakers in a short beautiful video.
Watch it after the break

The women featured in the clip are Aziza Amir,Bahidga Hafez, Amina Mohamed, Fatima Rushdi, Assia Dagher and her niece Mary Queeny.
I know about most of the ladies in that short clip but I am surprised to know that Amina Mohamed was a director.

The Multi-talented Amina Mohamed

She wrote, edited, directed and produced “Tita Wong” in 1937 on the roof of a building with LE 17 pounds only.
I have read that she was a dancer and an actress in addition to its most famous role in Egypt: Being Amina Rizk’s aunt. Amina Rizk is one of Egypt’s legendary actors.

Here is a very interesting and rare interview for Amina Mohamed with the multi-talented TV host Samir Sabry on Egyptian State TV in the 1970s.

 That interview gives you an idea about how Amina Mohamed was an interesting character.

Egyptian actress and filmmaker Amina Mohamed
Amina Mohamed in her youth
as an exotic dancer from Rawi magazine
After quitting the cinema world, Mohamed became a businesswoman who was planning to open a motel in Suez’ Ain Al-Sokhna.

Amina Mohamed was frank, she quitted Cinema because she did not want to be typecast in the mother role as she grew older.

She wanted the roles of strong fierce women.

Ironically, her niece Amina Rizk was typecasted in the role of Mother.

By the way, Amina Rizk is considered for real a 'drama queen' in Egypt to the level that we say commonly "Do not be Amina Rizk" when you refer to a drama queen or king in our daily talk.

She refused to dye her hair and left it white because she did not want to be artificial.
She spoke frankly about her dancing career in Europe and how she did not like belly dancing because she did not like “butt’s shaking”.

In Europe, Amina Mohamed said that she danced in Paris’ Lido and presented another type of dancing.
The woman was too fierce that she slammed legendary belly dancer Soheir Zaki. I really like how she was speaking freely about what was on her mind.

Her niece Amina Rizk was not that open in an interview.

Bahiga Hafez recounts her history 

I found another very rare interview I found in the Egyptian TV archives on YouTube.This is time is a 30-minutes interview with Egyptian pioneer actor and director Bahiga Hafez.

The daughter of a wealthy Pasha, Hafez was Egypt's first actress to appear in a long-silent movie in a leading role in "Zeinab", which was also based on what is considered Egypt's first modern Arabic novel.

She was also the first woman director, producer, writer and soundtrack composer. Another interesting character from a bygone era. 

Amina Mohamed and her sisters were not only pioneers in Egypt but in the Middle East and Africa.
Yet, they are often neglected unfortunately in the Western media.
Already I doubt that many Westerners ignore that we have had a very old and interesting cinema industry like the one we have in Egypt.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I run a platform for women's filmmaking from the region called Habibi Collective (IG: @habibicollective). I would love to screen 'Tita Wong' - do you happen to know who has the rights to the film? I saw you posted the film but it got taken down - could you please let me know who asked you to take it down, because they probably own the film so can help me out? My email is if it is easier for you to reply that way! Shukran!


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