The Egyptian Film Industry
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The Arab production of films originated from Egypt with the production of its first movie in 1909 and silent films in 1920. However, the Egyptian movie industry did not lay its foundation until 1935 when Misri Bank established a studio known as Misr. The studio contributed to the production of more than 20 movies every year: by the early months of 1940s. Nonetheless, by the end of 1948, six more studios had been put up, increasing the yearly production to 50 movies. Egyptians maintained this level of movie production until the 1990s ("The Golden Age of Egyptian Cinema – the 1940s to 1960s.").
The first movie that was produced by Misri studio was called Wedad. The star of the movie was a legend musician called Um Kalthum. Many people already knew her as a star before she appeared on the movie. She continued to act in six other movies, and the last movie that she acted was considered the most interesting. It was called Fatma. The Egyptian movie production hosted movies that featured stars of music such as Farid El Atrash, Muhamad Abdel Wahab, Asmahan, and Abdul Halim Hafez. The decades of 1930s and 40s are considered the years of Egyptian music with a genre owning a half of the movies produced, and retaining their strong influence until when they eventually declined in the 1970s ("The Golden Age of Egyptian Cinema – the 1940s to 1960s.").
According to Egyptians, music developed a unified ground with their fellow Arab countries. Moreover, the music facilitated the Egyptian movies to be exported to those regions. The connection generated the story of a regional success for movies of Egypt, and it has made the country be among the largest Arab world popular culture exporters. The first movie of Egypt to be exported successfully to other Arab nations was Al Warda AL Bayda. The star of this movie wasMohamad Abdul Wahab. Mohamad Abdul Karim directed it. The movie succeeded partially because its directr adapted some music in the movie. The movie dropped six minutes favor of pieces of music in its long instrumental introduction ("The Golden Age of Egyptian Cinema – the 1940s to 1960s.").
The 1940s to 60s are regarded the golden decades of Egyptian film industry. These years included major events considered as history of Egypt: the Second World War, colonialism, the monarchy leadership of Egypt, and the age of postcolonial. Despite all these events, there was a strong consistency in the institutions, filmmakers, and actors from late 40s to mid 50s. In 1964, the film industry in Egypt was nationalized before being denationalized in 1970. The nationalization of the Egypt film industry paved way for opportunities to certain directors to be free from genre dictated commercial constraints. However, whether the Egyptian film industry was under the commercial or the nationalized sector, the norm of the industry remained to be the use of actors, and the two systems produced different movies ("The Golden Age of Egyptian Cinema – the 1940s to 1960s."; "Arab Cinema: The Early Years.").
In the 1950s and 60s, the film production directors who produced movies in the realistic genre won strong critical acclaims. The movies of gangsters had started to thrive in the country, especially the thriller rise being seen in 60s. Another major influence that emerged was the literary novel; with over 10 percent of the Egyptian movies produced between 1930 and 1993, literary being adaptation. The big screen adapted Several Naguib Mahfouz’s novels, the Egyptian literature laureate Nobel Prize. Some of the major noticed collaboration are the Cairo movie and in particular between Salah Abu Seif and director Mahfouz ("Arab Cinema: The Early Years.")
Director Salah Abu Seif has been considered the most foremost realistic movie director. Just like Salah Abu Seif, another key realistic movie director was Kamal Al Sheikh. He started his career working at the Missr studio. People knew him for the creation of compelling thrillers, among them House Number 13. The movie concerns a psychologist who was trying to commit murder through his friends. The 1950s and 60s also experienced the release of realistic movies accomplished from the notable Youssef Chahine. The movie called The Blazing Sky was selected for the grand prix at the prestigious film festival, the Cannes International. His other masterpiece film known as Cairo Station was selected for a Golden Berlin Bear. Youssef Chahine’s social realism work was in his second movie that he produced: Son of the Nile. This second movie was the beginning of his international fame. The movie focused on the connections between elites and traditional classes. In addition, it depicted the peasant class hard life. The initial peasant’s representation was then used mostly as romanticized national identity symbols. The movie, Son of the Nile had a link to the official nomination at the movie festival ("Arab Cinema: The Early Years.").
Another movie director on the history of Egyptian movies is Henri Barakat. Just like other directors, he made movies in a different genre. He started making movies in the early days of 1940s and was among the most prolific moviemakers in the Egyptian history of the film industry. Some of his realistic work of movies that was internationally acclaimed was The Sin. The movie concerned a peasant woman who was raped by a wealthy landowner’s son. Finally, the raped woman delivered a baby in the field. The woman could not withstand her crime and dishonor, and decided to commit suicide. The sad ending of the movie was very much contrary to the approaches of most production of Hollywood movies. Moreover, it mostly represented the ethos of the Egyptian socialists. Despite the genre realistic sobering concept, majority of the movies of the Egyptian golden age have a bygone era quality that in many respect seem more liberal and glamorous (Ammar).
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