Raghda: Politics is Unavoidable in the Third World Cinema
The Syrian-Egyptian actress, Raghda, has said that while the sophisticated life in the US and the west have led to a cinema industry that tackles thousands of issues through thousands of techniques, movies in Egypt and the Third World cannot go far from their basic issues.
In an interview with Cairo Times, the actress, who has the reputation of being a classier artist than most other actresses said that taking away politics is not possible, and everybody wants to deal with directly with issues that look depressingly similar over the years.
She makes no apologies for this, said the paper.
“Here in Egypt, there's more interest in the question of peace with Israel, because this was the first country to make peace."
But a "political" film in Egypt is usually only political by association, she admits. The issue is always presented as a social problem.
"If I want to do something about students who graduate and look for work from the Ministry of Manpower, I can't do it without dealing with the economy and looking at the issue from a moral perspective," said Raghda. "What are the political and economic circumstances that led to this selfishness, this desire to get rich in one go, and all that has happened since the Infitah policy [of the 1970s], when a minority got rich quick? You can't talk about a piece of bread without talking about politics."
This situation makes for themes that change very little over the years. In the 1970s, Raghda herself appeared in Khuyout al-Ankabut (Spiderwebs), an Egyptian film that dealt with corruption in public sector companies. And last year she appeared in a film that looked at the moral decadence of the new rich, Ikhtifaa' Gaafar Al Masri (The Disappearance of Gaafar al-Masri).
Raghda has a career that stretches back to roles in Syrian and Lebanese films in the 1970s alongside big names of the time, such as comic star Duraid Lahham.
In Egypt in recent years, she has defied pigeonholing through her association with the controversial director Inas al-Degheidy, starring in Degheidy's saucy and provocative Istakoza (Lobster) in 1996. Along with Degheidy and actress Youssra, she has come to be regarded as part of a vanguard of strong femmes in Arab cinema, said Cairo Times.
However, her latest film, “Fataah Min Isra'il” (Girl from Israel), though believed to have all the ingredients of a box office success, isn't doing that well. A rush of foreign films nudged it out of major cinemas after just one week, said the report – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)