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Faten Hamama, one of Egypt’s most renowned actresses, has said she wouldn’t mind returning to act in movies again, but only if she “gets a script that fits” her.
In an exclusive interview on her birthday, Hamama told Radio Sawa that for her to act in a new movie would require a lot of effort, an artistically written screenplay, and a part that fits her and she is able to perform.
The 81-year-old actress is a widely appreciated artist who has worked with many great Egyptian artists, writers and filmmakers in different eras of Egyptian cinema. When she was only 10, she starred alongside acclaimed musician Mohamed Abdel Wahab in “Rossassa Fi al-Qalb” (Bullet in the Heart), written by Tawfiq al-Hakim.
She then maintained a steady movie career, starring in well-recognized movies such as “Doaa al-Karawan” (The Nightingale's Prayer), directed by Henry Barakat. The film received an award of recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Hamama said she likes playing humanizing roles. “A movie about a certain-aged woman, her problems and feelings, is the kind of cinema I prefer, whether it’s drama or comedy.”
Hamama, however, said she doesn’t like playing historical characters, despite her admiration of history.
While collaborating with Egypt’s finest director, Youssef Chahine, in making “Sira Fi al-Wadi” (Struggle in the Valley), she met famous Egyptian actor Omar Sharif. The movie was selected as one of the 150 best Egyptian film productions. After filming, Sharif and Hamama got married, and were together for 20 years. Sharif once said he has never loved a woman the way he loved Hamama.
Hamama has received dozens of awards, including a special award for the film “Imbratoriyat Meem” (‘M’ Empire) at the Moscow International Film Festival, a Golden Nefertiti Award from the Second Cairo International Film Festival for “Afwah Wa Araneb” (Mouths and Rabbits; 1977), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montpelier Mediterranean Film Festival in 1993.
Hamama has made many other contributions outside the world of cinema. Her movie “Oridu Hallan” (I Need a Solution) brought attention to the issue of married women who could not divorce due to legal obstacles. The film was behind the Egyptian law being changed in the favor of women.