Nadia Lotfi - Linda Evans of Egyptian Film

topic posted Sun, February 18, 2007 - 11:17 PM by  Sausan

Nadia Lotfy was born for an Upper Egyptian father and a mother From Lower Egypt, El Zagazeg. Her birth name is Paula Mohamed Shafiq. Her parent accepted her work as an actress inspite of her education in the Nuns school. Nadia appeared for the first time on screen playing a journalist in Niazy Moustafa's film, "Sultan" (1958). She caught attentions with her beauty that made director Youssef Shahin cast her in film "Hob Ella Al Abad" with Ahmed Ramzy, followed with successful roles in "El Naser Salah El Din", "El Nazara El Sawdaa". She also presented two films with Abd El Halim Hafez, "El Khatayia"(1962) and "Aby Fawqa Al Shagara" (1969). Nadia Lotfy has her own activities, as she is a member in many charitable assemblies for protecting the handicapped children and in the Arab Foreign Affairs Committee. She won awards for "El Seman Wa El Khariff" and "El Nazara El Sawdaa" films.



by: Abd El Hamid Farahat

Try to close exanimate the features of the character of the legend Nadia Lotfi, the actress and the human, try and you will be drawn to a colorful world full of joy and nourishment to the mind, then, you would discover the keys of her personality. Complete awareness to what is inside her and around her. She is always conscious and alert to everything she says and does. For me, she is a leader in raising alertness to defining the actress's role, regardless of the size of the role, or conditions made by producers and directors. What is strange that she reached this rank, whilst she never calculated or thought of being an actress. She did not study art, and did not seek its world; she just entered it by coincidence, through the friendship of her family with the family of the director Youssef Shahine. But, Maybe a coincidence is much better than thousands of appointments. When she quietly entered the cinema field, she liberated the awareness power inside her, she calculated and evaluated everything she has been offered, she chose what suits her in her own prospective. She had a marked existence from her very start.. The well armed actress with alert consciousness. This was the base of her colorful world, which drives happiness and nourishes the mind.

With complete awareness sprang Nadia Lotfi since she started 1957, ignoring the rules of the play made by filmmakers and star makers. A play known here, and outside, controlled by producers and distributing companies, a play for one, in which each actor had a certain shape and attitude, wearing masks, of all sorts, good, bad, sincere, or traitor. With full awareness, Nadia got aware of the dangers of the play, which perceives only the narrow view of an actor, and only prevails one side of the character and not all. Whilst the real human being is a combination of all these elements, good and evil, soul and body. She found out that what really counts is the way the person interacts with situations in life. To prefer or show a side more than the other. This view of Nadia Lotfi was new to the cinematic field, and reflects new concepts in the calculations of profit and loss. She stuck to her fully aware point of view since she began her career, up till her last film. Regardless of the role (how big or small the role is), the director, or the producers demands. This is why I said from the beginning that Nadia Lotfi has complete alert and awareness, and this is why she is very respected.

The figure of the woman in the cinema, before Nadia Lotfi was governed by one of these two things. Good or evil, body and spirit. Faten Hamama and Mariam Fakhr El Din, Zebeida Tharwat who proceeded her, in playing the roles of (good) forever. On the other hand Hoda Sultan, Berlanti Abd El Hamid, and Hind Rostom, played the roles of (evil) forever. These roles she refused, and insisted on refusing. And came her first role in 1957, in film SULTAN, directed by Niazi Mustafa, a clear escape from the above mentioned roles. A girl engaged to an officer, who enrolled her to convict a criminal. The (good) view, when you come to betray or doublecross a criminal for the purpose of convicting, you feel that you are doing the (evil) part, and the internal conflict appears between the good and evil. This conflict is illustrated in the consciousness and subconscious's, simply, without speeches or logos, Nadia Lotfi delivered the message through this shot, she says ' I seek goodness to convict the criminal, but what I am doing is evil, when I betray the trust this person had put in me.' This scene attracted audience's attention to her since her start.

With complete awareness Nadia Lotfi did not ever let go her human vision to the actor. The actor in her point of view, is in the first place a human, no matter what roles he does, weather he plays roles of good or evil characteristics or the roles of Sufi or atheist characteristics. She emphasized this in 55 films, after film SULTAN, until the 56th film, which came as a surprise to all filmmakers in the Arab media, a film in which her part did not exceed five minutes, in which she barely said a word, this was film AL MOMIAA directed by the deceased Shadi Abd El Salam in the year 1975. Nadia Lotfi played the role of Zeina, who was placed with another woman in a role of seducing Waniss, who belonged to Howaitat tribe; this tribe used to help the thieves of the ancient monuments. As usual Shadi Abd El Salam, aroused all the awareness and stubbornness inside her. Shadi lead her in a reverse role than the role she played in the film SULTAN. She was supposed to resemble the role of a cheap woman, evil one, but she changed this view, and made Waniss keen to guard the ancient monuments in his country. She discovered that coffins of ancestors should not be touched neither by Egyptians nor foreigners, and that its is a taboo to trade these ancient monuments. Her role was for the period of five minutes, she barely said a word, she just gave the meaning through her physical feature, winking eyes, and whispers through her hand, the meaning which would take days to be said.

With conscious and full awareness this view was repeated in roles, this performance which combines both the innocence and advocate, the naughtiness and seriousness, the body and soul needs. She reflected these qualities in all her films nearly. Yet, Nadia Lotfi stroked the attention to her colorful world, for her roles in two films, in which she presented new roles in the history of the Egyptian cinema. One of which is her role as a Christian woman in love with a man whose religion is unknown. The first film is AMALEQUAT AL BEHAR, in the year 1960, for director Sayed Bedeir, the role of the fiancée of the Syrian hero, Gaul Gamal, navy martyr, in the 1956 war. It should not be forgotten the scene in which she knelt facing the Virgin Mary inside the church, praying for the return of her love, her tears in this scene was able to express more than words could express. The other film is for the exquisite director Youssef Shahine, EL NASSER SALAH EL DIN, in the year 1963. She played the role of Olivia, who came accompanying the crusaders, and fell in love with the Arab Christian, Eissa El Awam. We should never forget the scene in which she was crossing Jerusalem whilst the church bells were ringing, and the Moslems were saying goodbye to their friends the Christians. She here ensures and emphasizes, that the person is a complicated creature, and might fall in love with somebody regardless of nationality or religion, and should convict evil and war. The same rhythm which she illustrated in the long list of films she spanned, all reflecting stubbornness and willingness. She managed to destroy all the masks, which the filmmakers had created on the faces of the superstars.

With complete awareness, and alert, Nadia Lotfi accepted roles, which she knew from the beginning to raise, hate and despise, and might not be accepted easily be audiences, the roles of prostitutes and belly dancers. By accepting these roles, she aimed to emphasize that these prostitutes or belly dancers are humans, inside these mingles the good and evilness, and struggles inside these the needs of body and soul. She was keen in playing those roles, not to make the prostitute or belly dancers an image to be imitated. And she came with these films AL SEMAN WA AL KHARIF in the year 1967, directed by Hussam El Din Mustafa and QUASSR EL SHAWQ in the year 1967, directed by Hassan El Emam, ABI FAWK AL SHAGARA in the year 1969, directed by Hussein Kamal. Through these films she sent an unwritten message to all concerned, a message which advises people to be away from these fields, which if any body enters, would burn like butterflies would burn from the light.

Away from the cinema screen Nadia Lotfi translated her prospective to what is going on around her and inside her, in thoughts and projects which was influenced by political features, in the crisis of 1967, she participated through the art committee, in the service of the war, and during the 1973 war, she kept on visiting the soldiers at the battle stage. In 1983, she went to Lebanon to protest the Israeli invasion. In 1993 she was the first to ask for actors life insurance and pension. In addition to her various roles in charity and welfare organizations.
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