Google, today, Tuesday, celebrated the birth of Egyptian Bahija Hafez, one of the first pioneers in the film industry, the first woman to compose soundtracks for films in Egyptian cinema.
Bahija, who was born on August 4, 1908, is the daughter of Ismail Pasha Hafez, who was the headmaster of the royal privilege during the reign of Sultan Hussein Kamel, and Ismail Sidqi was the Prime Minister of Egypt during the reign of King Fuad I of her relatives.
I was born in Muharram Bey in Alexandria (north of Egypt) and studied in the most famous French school at the time, then traveled to France when she was 15 years old and obtained a university degree from the Conservatory of Music in 1930.
She was not only involved in directing, acting and composing music, but she also worked in the field of montage, cinematography and writing.
Music was Hafez’s first passion since childhood, when she started playing the piano at the age of four, then she composed the first music track when she was nine, where her father admired this piece and called it “joyful”. After that, I composed two passages, the first of which was called “Inspired by the East” and the second was “Mahalashi”.
The Italian maestro, “Giovanni Borghese”, who was leading the music group in Alexandria, had a great impact on a joyful life. He used to visit their palace in the Muharram Bey neighborhood due to his friendship with her father, and therefore studied the rules of Western music at his hands.
After she gained fame in the world of music, as the first Egyptian woman to storm this field, her photo was published in the magazine “The Future” which was issued by “Ismail Wahbi, the lawyer” brother “Youssef Wahbi”, and her picture was published on the cover of the magazine, with the burqa and the veil, and under it the phrase ” The first Egyptian composer ”, when” Mohamed Karim “was searching for a hero for his first movie (Zeinab), after” Youssef Wehbe “refused the actress” Amina Rizk “.
Then, the cover girl caught the attention of “Mohamed Karim”, and he offered her the title of the movie, and she welcomed the joy of working in the cinema despite the strong opposition of her family.
Not only did Hafez star in the movie, but she also created the soundtrack for him, which consists of twelve music tracks.
Besides acting, production and soundtrack, she was adept at fashion design and directing, which she turned to after her disagreement with director “Mario Volpe”. She directed the movie “Laila bint Al-Sahra”, which represents a historical event in cinematic circles at that time, because of the huge decorations and costumes that attracted the spectator, especially the heroic clothes, in addition to the subject that was new to Egyptian cinema. It was the first Egyptian film to use the classical Arabic language easily and smoothly, and co-starred included “Hussein Riad”, “Zaki Rustom”, “Abdel Majeed Shokry” and “Raqia Ibrahim”. This film was nominated for screening at the Venice Festival in 1938, but it was banned at the last moment, and despite the place of this film in the history of Egyptian cinema, it was the reason for the bankruptcy of “Fanar Film” and Hafez was forced to stop production for up to ten years due to the losses incurred as a result of the prevention. Show and confiscate it.
Fanar Film Company returned to production after ten years of stopping, to produce (Zahrat Al-Souk 1947), and joyfully wrote his story, and entrusted to “Ibrahim Hussein Al-Akkad” to write the script and dialogue, and participated in it by singing the Lebanese singer “Wadih Al-Safi” when he was a submerged singer. The movie included a group of songs that “Bahija” composed, as well as the soundtrack.
However, the luck in success was not allied to him, and he was the cause of losing “joyful and declaring bankruptcy at that time.” And it was indeed a great shock to her that made her finally stop cinematic production, to be an unfortunate end to the pioneering struggle of the pioneers of Egyptian cinema, and she did not appear again in the cinema except in a short role in the movie (Cairo 30 in 1968), when the director “Salah Abu Saif” chose her. To play the role of the former princess, “Shwikar”.
In 1937 it established the first trade union for musicians, and this union remained in force until 1954.
She also established her own cultural salon in 1959 inside her palace next to Hoda Shaarawi Palace in Kasr El Nil Street, which had a prominent cultural and artistic activity and was among his artist, Mohamed Al Qasbaji, and these were artistic musical seminars where Hafez was playing the piano of old songs and had a rich library Various books on art or literature in Arabic and French.
And Nisa was not enough in her life, after she grew old and remained bedridden for many years, only a few of her acquaintances knocked on her door, until the neighbors discovered her death two days after the death in 1968. Her sister Soma and her nephew came from Alexandria and it was popular for her last resting place .