The Mute (El Kharsaa) with Lead Actress Samira Ahmed in Attendance (Arabic Language Program)

Samira Ahmed
Thursday, May 16, 2013
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver St. 4th Floor (b/w Broad & Broadway) Lower Manhattan

by Hassan Al Imam, Egypt, 1961, 111 mins. (Arabic only)

Starring Samira Ahmed (in Attendance) Emad Hamdy and Hassan Youssef

The Film Has No English Subtitles

Free and Open to the Public

El Kharsaa (The Mute) ranks as one of Hassan Al Imam‘s earliest masterpieces. The Mute puts its protagonist, Samira Ahmed, on stage as one of the leading actresses of the golden age of Egyptian cinema,

The Mute is the story of Naiima. who is mute and living with her father and abusive stepmother, poor peasants, in a village in upper Egypt. A newly arrived doctor (Emad Hamdy) takes pity and employs her as his assistant, and for whom she develops an infatuation. One night while attending a village fair, the son of a prominent villager rapes and impregnates her.

Persecuted by her family and the villagers, who mistakenly think that the doctor is the culprit, Naiima is aided by her soldier cousin (Hassan Youssef), who helps her through her ordeal. Once she gives birth, the rapist’s father tries to kidnap the child. In the altercation, he kills Naiima’s father but is severely wounded by Naiima. She is arrested and, in a climactic scene, put on trial where she has to defend herself in sign language.

Samira Ahmed has more than 85 films to her credit as an actress and several others as a producer. Her abiding sincerity, elegant demeanor, and gracious poise stood their ground at a time when Egyptian cinema was at its height, clamored with a fierce number of leading actors and actresses, directors and productions houses. Mentored by legendary figures in the history of Egyptian cinema, Abdel Wareth Assar and to some degree Anwar Wagdi, Ahmed’s career started in the early 1950s. Other than El Kharsaa, markers of her artistry include serious dramas such as Aghla Min Inaya (Dearer than my Eyes, 1955), and Hal Ana Magnouna (Am I Insane, 1962). Qandil Umm Hashem (Umm Hashem’s Lantern, 1968) and Al-Shaymaa’ (1973). She also collaborated with Abdel Halim Hafez in Al-Banat Wal-Seif (Girls and the Summer, 1960) and Farid al Attrash in Shati’ Al-Hubb (Shore of Love, 1961) in lighter romantic roles.

Later in her career Samira Ahmed has turned her attention to film production and also acting in television series such as Didd Al-Tayyar (Against the Current, 1996), and Mama Fi El-Qism (Mother in the Police Station, 2010)

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