Interview with Marwan Hamed...when quality comes first



Wed, 12 Jul 2017 - 03:12 GMT


Wed, 12 Jul 2017 - 03:12 GMT

Marwan Hamed by: Hayssam Samir

Marwan Hamed by: Hayssam Samir

CAIRO – 12 July 2017: When the name of the creative Egyptian director Marwan Hamed is mentioned, the first thing to jump into our minds is that we are in front of a director with one of a kind talent. An artist who owns a unique style that nobody else has nor could even imitate.

The audience mostly attribute the movie to its stars, but Hamed is one of the very few directors that his creativity pushed the viewers to say we are going to watch Hamed’s movie and even wait eagerly for his new film. For the audience he is the real star of the movie and the quality stamp that the film is worth watching.

Hamed is an Egyptian filmmaker and director who was born in 1977 in Cairo. He graduated from the High Institute of Cinema in 1999. Hamed started his directing career with the short movie Lili based on a short story by the veteran writer Youssef Edris.

In 2006 Hamed directed his first feature film ‘Omaret Yacoubian’ (The Yacoubian Building) which houses a notable cast of giant actors like Adel Emam, Nour El Sherif, Yousra, Khaled El Sawy and Essad Yunis. The film achieved a booming success and garnered several awards from important International Film Festivals. ’Omaret Yacoubian’ was followed by ‘ Ibrahim Labyad’ in 2009, starring the mega Egyptian star Ahmed el-Sakka, ‘El Feel el Azraa’ (The Blue Elephant) movie in 2014, starring the heartthrob Egyptian star Karim Abdel Aziz and finally ‘El-Asleen’ (The Originals) starring the renowned actress Menna Shalaby and the veteran actor Khaled el-Sawy, which was released few weeks ago in Eid El Fitr.

Hamed has directing career that extended for 16 years, since his first short movie Lili in 2001. His filmography includes 4 films and one short movie. This filmography shows clearly that Hamed always chooses accurately what movie is worth to be presented to the audience. He simply respects his audience and they respect and trust him in return and admire his work. Hamed spoke to Egypt Today revealing a lot about his life, his career and his extraordinary cinematic vision.

Omaret Yacoubian was your first feature film, as a young director, directing for the first time a feature movie, how could you managed leading such a big cast that contains veteran super stars?

All the stars in the movie embraced me, they knew that this was my first experience so they helped me a lot to perform my duty in a perfect way. I will never forget the great support that the mega star Adel Emam gave me during this experience, the first scene I shoot in the movie was for him. Also the late renowned star Nour el Sherif, the heartthrob star Yousra and the lovely star Essad Yunis all supported me as well to succeed.

El-Asleen movie is your second film with the script writer Ahmed Mourad after El Feel el Azraa, what is the difference between both films?

The two films are totally different from each other. El-Asleen has a cinematic style and El Feel El Azraa has another cinematic style, both experiences with Mourad are not similar to each other from all aspects.

Many people see that El-Asleen is a movie from a new perspective, what is the new element that you are presenting in it?

Yes this is true El-Asleen is contrastive because of its type. The film’s narrative was executed with a great deal of stenography and the film cadence is new and variant. In general El-Asleen is my fourth feature movie, if you compared the four with each other, you will find that every one of them is completely dissimilar from the other. Each has its own spirit, topic, mood and belong to a different cinematic style.

My fifth movie will be contrastive than the other four, my main principal is not to repeat myself and to present every time sundry movie. This is part of the path I chose since I started my career as a director, which is to present a completely sundry experience in every movie. I direct the movie that I love to execute and to watch at the same time, I have to put myself in every movie in the place of the spectator. Every director has two options after finishing a movie, especially if it was a successful one, whether to repeat himself again by performing another movie from the same type to guarantee success or to buccaneer by directing a completely variant film. True real cinema is based on venturing, boldness and proffering always new experiences. It is very important for me as a director to try in every movie to develop myself, because the era is evolving too fast, especially regarding new generations spectators, mainly under 20 years old, so I must always buccaneer to present attractive movies to this segment of audience.

You said that you direct the movie that you love to execute and watch at the same time, which of your movies you enjoy watching most as a spectator?

In general after I finish the movie it is difficult for me to watch it, because I feel with every scene that I could have performed it in a better way. But after a period of time the movie turned to be a memory and I could watch it. In general some scenes in Ibrahim al-Abyad I enjoy to watch again.

Is your target audience is youth under 20 years?

Cinema spectators are mainly from youth. We are currently witnessing a tussle between television, internet and Netflex audience from a side and the other side is the cinema audience. For any spectator watching a movie in the cinema means that they have to exert more effort by going out, pay for a ticket, consume petrol as well as the parking fees and buy popcorn (Hamed laughed). Going to the cinema is much costly than watching television at home. So youth mainly who are active enough and have more passion to go to the cinema even as an outing, youth audience who go to the cinema are the majority now, this a fact that there is no question about.

How much preparation time El-Asleen took?

El-Asleen took 2 years. Each of the four movies took two years of preparation.

Even Lili short movie?

Yes also Lili took two years. Lili was supposed to be my graduation project, but I did it after graduation. Some may view that two years is too long period to prepare for a movie. In the whole world they took 2 years or more to prepare for a movie.

Other directors may exploit the success of a movie and do at least one or more movies after from the same type at least to guarantee success, why you did not do this?

Nobody know the secret success formula to determine which film will thrive, for example The Mummy Film for Tom Cruise was released recently and it did not succeed despite all the expectations that it will flourish. When I presented Omaret Yacoubian, Ibrahim al-Abyad and El Feel El Azra2 I did not know if they will pan off or not, because simply when they were out there were no similar movies to them. In Omaret Yacoubian many critics intercepted on how we could execute a movie based on a novel, because at that time it was not familiar to convert novels to movies. Others strongly opposed how to introduce a veteran comedian mega star like Adel Imam in a none-comedy role, even a tragic one. It was claimed by all that Imam will not be acceptable from the audience in such a role. In addition that the film tackled a lot of taboos especially here in Middle East like pederasty issues, despite all these inputs it was screened and achieved a booming success. To sum up nobody can previously predict whether a film will succeed or not.

Stay tuned for the second part of this interview to be published on Thursday July 13.



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