Today marks the second death anniversary of acclaimed Egypt's writer Wahid Hamed, fondly known as the godfather of realist Egypt's cinema.
He was lauded for his work in films and drama and won a number of awards including the coveted Golden Pyramid Award. He was often praised for beautifully capturing the nuances of human life and relationships in his works.
Hamed, the Arab world-famous Egyptian screenwriter who died in early 2021, was born on 1 July 1944 in Sharqia Governorate, the countryside city considered the cradle of Eastern art and literature during the Middle Ages.
He moved to Cairo in 1963 where he started his college studies at Cairo University, in the field of Sociology. Then he got married to Zeinab Sweidan with whom he had his son, Marwan the talented director.
Furthermore, Hamed established his writing career in the late 1960s after completing his university degree in sociology.
The film “Ahlam Elfata Altayer” (Dreams of the Fly Boy) (1978) dubbed his long-time collaboration with iconic actor Adel Imam and is considered his advanced movie script.
Hamed was one of the most successful, rare Egyptian screenwriters, with over 40 films and 30 television series to his name, according to critics.
Hamed is well-known for some of his seminal works, such as the Al-Ghoul (1983), El-Le’eb Maa El-Kobar (1991), Al-Baree’(1985), Toyour El-Zalam (1995), and the screenplay for the critically acclaimed ‘The Yacoubian Building’ (2006), which Hamed’s son, Marwan Hamed, directed.
Moreover, he is known for joint collaborations and associations with legendary Egyptian actresses like Yousra and Elham Shahin.
He was the first Egyptian screenwriter to receive the Golden Pyramid Award for lifetime achievement in the cinema field in its new form, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the Egyptian government, in 2020, a quarter of a century after the prizes’ s founding.
In 2021, Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) honoured the legendary Egyptian screenwriter Hamed at the opening ceremony of its 42nd edition, held in December, with the Golden Pyramid Award for Lifetime Achievement for a career that spanned over five decades.
Hamed’s works have won numerous awards in festivals locally and internationally. Two of his iconic films were picked for the acclaimed list of the best 100 Egyptian films in the 20th century; Sherif Arafa’s “Al-Laab Maa al-Kobar” (Playing with Giants, 1991) and Atef El-Tayeb’s “Al-Baree” (The Innocent, 1985). The list was based on a survey of Egyptian critics under the supervision of the late Saad Eddin Wahba, president of CIFF’s 20th edition.
Hamid was also cited as the father of the modern classic approach in Egyptian movies and TV series. His death at 77 on 2 January 2020 left a gap in the Arab art world.
On his death anniversary, here are some of his best films that one should definitely watch:
"Fetwat Bolak" (Bolak's Bullies, 1988)
Fetwat Bolak is the story of a bully from the old Bolak district in Cairo. However, the trials and tribulations of life take away him. Stricken with grief, leaves his home in search of a better life. This is one of the best Wahid Hamed's movies till now and is also highly acclaimed. The movie, Fetwat Bolak has been adapted from Naguib Mahfouz's novel entitled, 'Hekayt Hartna'.
“Al-Baree” (The Innocent, 1985)
A simple-minded peasant was recruited into the Egyptian army where he was deceived to believe that political activists are his homeland's enemies, but not for so long.
“Al-Laab Maa al-Kobar” (Playing with Giants, 1991)
It’s a bizarre story about Hassan, the unemployed man and broke man who goes to the police claiming there will be a fire in a plastic factory and answering he knows about that from a dream.