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Sample excerpts from separate interviews from Cine Images in the late nineteen twenties :

The Sacrifices of an Actor
How many a sacrifice does an actor make of which the audience is never aware!? Would those who envy actors, and aspire to becoming one themselves, be ready to willingly take the risks actors sometimes have to take?

This week, the filming of A Storm in Springtime was completed. It is the latest production by Egyptian Lama Productions and the latest movie to be directed by Mr. Ibrahim Lama, the famous action movie director. The movie had been fully prepared for release, when the director discovered that an entire scene of the star Samir Abdallah [Samir Lama] crossing a stream at the Qanater el Kheireya had been stolen while the movie was transferred between the studio and the lab. There was no other way but to re-shoot the scene. The young popular star Samir Abdallah had to swim across the whole stream all over again in this freezing winter. Some technicians suggested that Samir should have a glass of wine to warm him up. But Samir did not drink; in fact, he hated alcohol. However, he resignedly decided to obey the director’s orders, and early in the morning that same week, crossed the stream which was known for its extreme coldness. Moreover, since the shooting of the movie was undertaken in parts, Samir had to swim across the stream repeatedly, in parts … All for the sake of the movie!

Sami Brill
Sami Brill, [cinematographer of Russian origin, born in Palestine] is having his hair groomed by his barber Mitzo; I manage to interview him hurriedly:

Q. So, pleased to be back in Alexandria?
A. Always happy to come back, and delighted by the landscape.

Q. Do inform us, what is it like to film in our country?
A. Well, in spite of the breathtaking scenery and charming weather, alas, the dust can come between them and the camera. A particle of sand or dust will easily fall on the lens causing unwanted effects in the photography. Luckily, I have been able to work a way around this problem now, but it took some effort. Of course, at first, I thought the bright sunlight would be an asset but soon I had to be dealing with other issues. [Mitzo gets somewhat impatient, unable to handle his client who is busy answering our questions. Although Mr. Brill has a slight physical deformity in the form of a pronounced hunch, he is extremely winsome and charming.]

Q. Given those contrary conditions, would you still like to repeat the experience of shooting here?

A. Oh yes, I would love it. In many ways it is pure magic. And on the personal level, my father in law lives in Cairo, which makes it all the more like home.

On cinema, science and culture; and aspiring to a cinematic career
From an interview with Alexander Farkaš ( aka Farkache)

Cinema for me was a family affair. Four of us brothers are in the movie business, one way or another. Over there ( pointing at the cameraman) is Francois, better known as Ferri, doing his work behind the camera. From childhood we have always played with cameras but were not allowed to even consider a professional career associated with filming before finishing our studies. We are all university graduates and we fully realize the importance of a formal education and classical formative training. I graduated a chemical engineer, and like all my brothers studied philosophy as well. I do not regret it, of course, and would advise young cinema aspirers to do the same; I cannot impress on them enough how much classical studies have enhanced our careers and helped us perfect our craft. Do not for a minute think that one can step into the world of film through the door of ignorance, for like all art that of the screen exacts a profundity of knowledge and a diversity of skills.

Generally speaking, success requires toil, perseverance and a willingness to make sacrifices. I must say that cinema is a science one has to take seriously, one starts out a schoolboy, hardworking and disciplined; but no matter how talented by nature, there is always a technique that one must learn. It takes patience and tenacity to be able to slowly but surely make one’s mark. Filming and repetition of shooting a scene can be exhausting for cast and crew, and one has to be able to remain calm and controlled.

The artist will be required to lead a healthy life, without indulgence or excess; for once he has signed a contract, he is expected to conform to the demands of his director and producer. He cannot afford to miss days on the set on account of illness or fatigue, and he will be expected to help the production rather than cause heavy losses. If he stays up too late or drinks too heavily, an artist will never be able to cope with our strenuous life- style of eighteen straight hours of work often on a single scene. He owes it to his co- workers, his director and to his image to look after himself. Candidates should not imagine that life on the set is an ongoing ball.

[On keeping a spotless reputation]

No scandals, either! Our stars must have an impeccable reputation so not to feed the tabloids and earn the disdain of the public. Look at what happened to the genius Charlie Chaplin following a scandal in his private life. It is wrong to imagine that scandal will attract publicity, for its sensationalism is short- lived. Even if some curiosity is aroused by it at first, it soon fades and makes way for merciless criticism.

[ On working in our studios, and his disciples]

What a joy and what a passion it is to conduct work in a studio….sometimes for days on end without feeling the need for food or sleep. Here in Egypt, my pleasure is unlimited, not least due to a wonderful group of four or five extremely talented young Egyptians, chosen from amidst hundreds of eager candidates; and I have no doubt that by training them they will become great stars in their different specializations. Their desire to succeed, their eagerness to learn and their enthusiasm encourage me.

Comment by the interviewer:

By now, the end of the interview, I can feel the enthusiasm rise in Mr. Farkaš voice and his face lights up with a keen expression of love for the art of cinema. With such a competent master of his technique, and a man of his experience, I am reassured that our young apprentices will become brilliant assets to our national cinema.

Cinema Audiences

From an interview with cinema owner Spiro Raissi on the Egyptian, and especially, the Alexandrian audience. 1930.
Q. How much of a financial risk is the business of owning and running a cinema?

A. Nothing venture, nothing gain. One must go by a gut feeling and a sense of daring to take calculated risks. But the key to success is to be attentive to the demands of your niche of clientele and to be willing to satisfy at all cost. We were the first to slash ticket prices and to introduce films at exactly the same time they would be showing in Paris and London, if not even before. This drew audiences by the hundreds.
Q. How would you describe the Egyptian audience?

A. It is certainly the most difficult public to satisfy. We deal here, and especially in Alexandria, with spectators who are the most cosmopolitan possible and it is there the dilemma: how to please such a wide variety of different tastes?!
Q. What film genres appeal the most to our audiences?
A. (Without hesitating) Comedy for sure, and melodrama. A happy mean between the two will satisfy only a few, so you can imagine the difficult task ahead of us when traveling to choose our films. We try to figure out the impossible because apart from its diversity, it is also a very erratic audience whose reactions can be hard to anticipate. Ah, yes! I forgot to mention the huge budget, blockbuster type of historical productions which also find great favour with our mixed audiences.