Remembering Faten Hamama on her 92nd birthday
Today marks the 92nd birthday of Egyptian actress and film producer Faten Hamama, known as The First Lady of Egyptian and Arabic Cinema.
Born on the 27th of May 1931, she made her screen debut in 1939 as a seven year old.
She got her first role after she won a children’s beauty pageant in Egypt, and that was one director Mohamed Karim saw her and thought she was suitable for a role of a young girl in A Happy Day with actor and musician Mohamed Abdel Wahab.
Hamama joined the High Institute of Acting in 1946, and during that same year she was offered a role by Youssef Wahbi in the movie Angel of Mercy.
Hamama played a significant role in the golden age of the Egyptian cinema in the 1950s.
In 1951, she starred in the movie Your Day will Come, which was nominated for the Prix International Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 1963, she participated in Hollywood’s crime film Cairo.
Her movies were a key role in the women’s rights movement in Egypt. For instance, her movie The Open Door shows the important role Egyptian women played in the Liberation of Egypt from colonization.
Her most significant film, I Want a Solution, criticised the marriage and divorce laws in Egypt, granting women the right to divorce their husbands.
The movie The Nightingale’s Prayer depicts the struggle of Egyptian women in the countryside and the inequality they face with what is called “honour killing”
She also starred in an Egyptian adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina which was called The River of Love with her then husband Omar Sharif.
Hamama passed away on the 17th of January 2015, leaving behind a legacy that will be remembered forever.