Sunday, September 5, 2010

Determination [al-azima] 1939

Determination [al-azima] (1939) - (Fatma Rouchdi) very rare Egyptian film poster 27" x 39" printed by Matabi Masr of Cairo

In the 1995 Cairo 100 Years of Egyptian Cinema Festival this film was ranked number one among the top 100 films. Directed by Kamal Selim, cinematography Very Varkash. Starring Fatma Rouchdi, Abd Al-Aziz Khalil, Zaki Rostom, Hussein Sedki, Anwar Wagdi, Abbas Fares, Marie Munib, Mokhtar Osman, Mokhtar Hussein, Hikmat Fahmi, Souraya Fakhry, Hassan Kamel.

In his 1969 book An Introduction to the Egyptian Cinema Egyptian director Mohamed Khan says of this film: "The story of Determination is only a skeleton to serve the film's other deeper aims. It takes place in a poor district in Cairo and concerns, among others, Mohamed, the local barber's son, who resists becoming a government official after finishing his secondary school. Mohamed hopes to better himself through a business deal with a rich man's son. This deal fails and while Mohamed is awaiting his government appointment he is threatened with the loss of his sweetheart to the local butcher. Eventually Mohamed succeeds in becoming a business man and marrying his girl. Determination is regarded as the first film of a school which was new to the Egyptian scene: the realistic school. For the first time an Egyptian film-maker dealt realistically with a social problem drawn from real life and conditions in Egypt. The deepest traditions of the Egyptian people reflect the respect and esteem accorded to officials, to the exclusion of other social classes such as tradesmen, craftsmen and independent workers. The official in his suit and Tarboosh (the Effendi) is compared with the tradesman or craftsman in his galabia, the official and his fixed regular salary and the independent worker and his uncertain earnings. This grave problem produced consequences which had a great influence on Egyptian society, especially during this period. If a young man were fortunate enough to obtain his secondary school certificate or university degree, his only hope of a stable income was to become a government employee. The result was that only foreigners went into trade or industry. The owners of the commercial or industrial companies in Egypt were Italians, Greeks, French, Swiss or British, and it was unusual to find a single Egyptian among them. Egyptian families of the middle class always chose an official to marry their daughters, however small his income might be, rejecting an independent worker even if his income was higher. Selim's film had a really overwhelming success, such as had never previously been known in the Egyptian cinema."

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