Cinema of Egypt
Egypt cinema is among the biggest one in the Middle East and people often refer it as the Hollywood of the Arab world. It is also said that it’s the only Middle Eastern country which has a cinema industry depicting the complete meaning of the word.
There is a small controversy regarding when did cinema took birth in Egypt. While some believe it dating back to 1986 when the first film was watched in the country; still others say it started in 1907 when the first documentary short film was made here. For more than a hundred years of cinema in Egypt and over 4000 movies represent a total balance of the rest of the Arab cinema, which now depends on it all the Arab satellite channels. Egypt is touted to be the most productive country in the Middle East in the field of film production.
Golden age of cinema in Egypt
The 1940s and 1950s are believed to be the golden era of the cinema in Egypt as here the films responded to popular imagination with most lying into predictable genres and when many actors found careers after playing typed parts and strong characters. The period 1950 to 1962 saw many changes in the Egyptian cinema with many ups and downs but it was in 1966 that the Egyptian film industry had been nationalized.
In 1970 the Egyptian cinema managed to strike a balance between politics and entertainment. Many films like Khalli Balak min Zouzou starring “the Cinderella of Arab cinema”, Suad Husni, sought to balance politics and audience appeal. Zouzou integrated music, dance, and contemporary fashions into a story that balanced campus ferment with family melodrama.
Censorship in Egyptian cinema
Cinema in Egypt today has all the modern amenities like the studios, all the amenities which are today needed but there is also censorship. Any film maker has to check the script they're shooting, have to agree with it, that there is nothing anti-Arab, Anti-Muslim. As showing any such anti thing in a film can lead to not just controversy but also a failed report from the censor board here which plays a crucial part in the Egyptian cinema today.
The scene of Egyptian cinema today
Today many film makers are going out of line to make films that are different and can even challenge the censor board here. One such latest film to have been made here is the "The Yacoubean Building”, which has been seen as a landmark in the history of cinema in Egypt. The film was made on the biggest ever budget and an all-star cast led by the revered actor Adel Imam and featuring popular actress, Youssra. The movie even covered some sensitive subjects that challenged the censors and religious conservatives, including homosexuality and terrorism.
Film makers are now struggling to come up with new and different subjects to keep audiences glued. But what is finally needed is a new generation of film-makers that are very strong, hungry and really want to do something about it.
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