Fatima Rushdi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Fatima Rushdi (1908-1996) was an Egyptian actress and producer, "one of the pioneers of Egyptian cinema".[1]


Born in Alexandria, Fatima Rushdi moved to Cairo aged fourteen to become an actress.[2] Without any formal training, and speaking only Arabic,[3] she started her own theatrical troupe in 1926,[4] which travelled throughout North Africa. The theater director `Aziz `Id fell in love with her and enabled her to learn to read and write.[2] She became known as the "Bernhardt of the Orient" for reprising many of Sarah Bernhardt's famous roles.[1]

Her first film appearance was in Ibrahim Lama's second film, Faji`a Fawq Al-Haram / Disaster on the Pyramids (1928).[1] In 1933 she directed her first and only film, al-Zarwaj / The Wedding, which premiered in Paris.[2] No surviving copies are known, and in her 1970 memoir she claimed to have burned the completed film.[2] The film featured her as a woman pushed into an unhappy marriage by her father, and dying tragically at the end. She acted in several films by Kamal Selim, including the 'realist' al-`Azima / Determination (1939), where she played a young working-class girl falling in love with the neighbour's son. Her last screen appearance was in 1955, in a secondary role in Ahmad Diya` al-Din's Da`uni A`ish / Let Me Live.[1]

In the 1960s Fatima Rushdi hosted a salon for filmmakers and students at the Cairo Higher Institute for Drama Studies.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Leaman, Oliver (2003). "Rushdi, Fatima (b. 1908, Alexandria)". Companion Encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African Film. Routledge. p. 122. ISBN 978-1-134-66252-4.
  2. ^ a b c d e Rebecca Hillauer (2005). Encyclopedia of Arab Women Filmmakers. American Univ in Cairo Press. pp. 30–1. ISBN 978-977-424-943-3.
  3. ^ Landau, Jacob M. (1958). Studies in the Arab Theater and Cinema. Routledge. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-317-24627-5.
  4. ^ Cathlyn Mariscotti (2008). Gender and Class in the Egyptian Women's Movement, 1925–1939: Changing Perspectives. Syracuse University Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-8156-3170-5.