American University of Beirut

Faten Hamama

Mrs. Hamama, fondly called the Lady of the Arabic Screen, not only changed the Egyptian film industry, but also showed through her roles the extent to which women in Egyptian and Arab societies can be strong, self-determined, and independent. She won her first acting role at the age of eight and at 15, she was enrolled at the High Institute of Acting in Cairo. Early in her career, she took on roles in films such as Kursi Al L’Etraf and won the lead role in Lak Yawm Ya Zalem, a film nominated for the Prix International at Cannes. As her fame grew, she consciously selected roles that addressed societal taboos including honor killing and divorce. Later in her career, she was drawn to roles that promoted pro-democratic themes, including Imbaratoriyyat Meem. She took up television and roles in Dameer Ablah Hikmat and Wajh al-Qamar. She has received critical acclaim and more than twenty awards for her work from across the region, including Lebanon’s Order of the Cedar, and the Star of the Century lifetime achievement award at the Alexandria International Film Festival.

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