Hussein Fahmi Not Optimistic about Future of Egyptian Cinema
Egyptian actor Hussein Fahmi has a long history in the Egyptian cinema, TV and theater. He belongs to a generation that has played a pivotal role in activating these arts and enhancement of their role in the society.
Fahmi has recently resigned as the head of Cairo International Film Festival over a dispute with the festival management and the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. “I have my differences with the ministry over its meager financial support for the festival which needs more support,” he told the London-based daily Al Hayat.
The ministry did not criticize the way Fahmi ran the festival but it was he who submitted resignation. “We in the Arab World do not understand the meaning of resignation because nobody resigns. Have you ever heard of any Arab top official who resigned? He would leave the office only when he is fired or when he dies. That’s why were surprised at my resignation,” added Fahmi.
Responding to a question whether the Arab cinema has a clear and distinctive identity, Fahmi said, “if we talk about the Arabic cinema, we see that the Egyptian cinema in particular has a clear identity which it has acquired throughout its long journey. We can say that the Egyptian film has established a cinema school as when we watch an Egyptian film we can realize it from the first scenes.”
“As for the Maghreb cinema, it is nothing but individual attempts with most of the films being joint production. These productions have their own circumstances and nature. The European countries which take part in the production look at the Arabs from a folkloric perspective and are after topics that exhibit the Arab as an uncivilized person whose only haven is in Europe, and France in particular. This is a humiliation for the Arab individual.
The case with Syria and Lebanon is brighter, as far as the artist is concerned.
He said, “the Lebanese cinema has begun paving its way through seeking films that are different from those we saw before the war. The Syrian cinema has also its own language and I think it is necessary for it to increase production. This is due to the fact that private production has begun to emerge which is an excellent thing. There are serious moves to enhance this type of art and so the Syrian filmmakers should seize this opportunity.”
The renowned actor sees that “people have distanced themselves from the cinema and the new generation has become the legitimate son of the satellite channels.” The TV, he said, has become dominant over the brain of the viewer who has been used to see a song followed by an advertisement and a news report.
The viewer has his remote control device and can move from one channel to another and this quick pattern has imposed itself on filmmakers. Therefore we have recently seen the Egyptian films made in accordance with this pattern. Most of these films include a sketch followed by a song and then a joke. The star sings and every body sings and dances in order to satisfy the new viewer who has been used to this due to constant TV watching. I believe all of this has influenced the cinema and made its future ambiguous and even gloomy -- Albawaba.com