I was all in tears when I heard the news of honouring me at Cairo Film Festival: Lebleba

Kadry Al-Haggar
11 Min Read

Brilliant veteran Egyptian actress Lebleba lives in a state of artistic glow, and she was able to break all barriers. Her artistic career is more than half a century long. She kicked off her art journey with singing and dancing as a child. She made her way into the art world at a time when movie stars are turning to television. She headed towards the cinema with great strength and maturity.

Lebleba has formed a wonderful artistic duet with great actor Adel Imam for many years, during which they were the most popular in the Egyptian film scene.

Recently, Lebleba played brilliant roles in many recent films such as “Al-Akher”, “Farhat and Lieutenant Adam”, and then “Hassan and Morcos”. Daily News Egypt interviewed Lebleba to talk about her honouring at the Cairo International Film Festival and her long career.


ï        How did you feel when you heard of your honouring at the Cairo Film Festival?

  I felt very happy when Hussein Fahmy, the President of the festival, told me that I had been chosen to be honoured in the upcoming edition. I was all in tears. I did not sleep all night, as my life seemed to me like a movie tape, and I remembered my start as a child, when my mother used to prepare me well for filming, preparing my clothes, reviewing scenes and dialogue with me. My artistic life, which included more than 88 films, passed as a movie tape and I felt a state of confidence and pride because I will be honoured by the most important film festival in my country. I also felt the satisfaction of the audience and critics of my artistic career.

The Cairo Film Festival holds a special place in my heart and being honoured in the coming edition makes me feel satisfied. This honour makes me happy and also pushes me to start with very high spirits.


ï        How do you see your artistic career?

Since my childhood, all I have known was only acting, which I loved and devoted my life to. I respect my fans that encouraged and supported me throughout my artistic career, and in all stages of my life.

Success has a price to be paid by those who aspire to it, if I have paid my life for it, it is never a loss but a great gain because art and the love of the audience filled my life, I grew up among them, I love and respect art, marriage may end, and brothers may travel, while art remains and delights my life.

I worked with great directors, from Hassan El Imam, Niazi Mustafa, Anwar Wagdy, Hussein Kamal, Ashraf Fahmy, Atef Salem, Mohamed Abdel Aziz, Hussein Sedky, Youssef Chahine, Samir Seif and Atef El Tayeb, who presented me in roles that earned me the people’s respect. But the one I worked with most was director Mohamed Abdel Aziz, with whom I presented seven films, and who gave me my first absolute leading role in the movie “Keep in mind from your neighbours”.


ï        How do you see this experience and your relationship with festivals?

My relationship with festivals is not new. I used to go to the Cannes and keep a cassette with me and record my notes and personal impressions, and at the end of the festival, I used to evaluate the films I saw and predict which actor would win the Best Actor award, which film would win the Palme d’Or, and the artist who would win the Best Actress award. After the awards were announced every year, I used to find that 90% of my predictions were correct. The important thing is that you should know that judging is a difficult task, but, thank God, I have the experience, and in the past, I used to save in an envelope for the festival in order to travel to watch films and educate myself artistically. This contributed to the development of my mind as an artist, and over time I was able to anticipate the winning films before they won their prizes at the biggest festivals.


ï        Has this affected your performance as an artist?

Of course, my follow-up to festival films improved my performance, and during my attendance at the various sessions of the Cannes and other festivals, and watching dozens of films, I refined my artistic performance. The most important thing in our work is for the audience to believe us when they see us on the charming screen.


ï        Do you not notice that you have been away from the cinema for a long time?

 I never moved away from the cinema because it is my first love. It suffices for you to know that I am a cinema lover and any real artist always finds himself in cinema because it is history and reference, and I am busy with the movie “The Jeweler,” which is a new role that introduces me to the audience in a different way.


ï        What tempted you to introduce this character?

 A new character for me, just as it is complex and requires great effort in the imaginary performance, and I think that this pleases me artistically and personally. The role is a comedy and requires great focus and challenge, so I accepted the challenge, with Mohamed Henedy and Mona Zaki participating in the championship.


ï        What about your role in the film?

 In principle, I do not look in all my works to the role of the role in presenting any work, and this is what made me always enjoy being in the cinema, more than the rest of the stars. I do not look at the heroes or the number of scenes that I will present, but I look at what the role presents to the audience, and of course, there should be a difference in any role I play.


ï        What is the secret of your presence in the cinema to this extent, unlike the rest of the actresses of your generation?

 I am the most popular actress of my generation in cinema, whether by presenting films for festivals or by presenting mass films. The secret in this is due to the good and correct choice, in addition to the fact that I changed my skin. For a long time, I was supposed to present works for television, as did the girls of my generation, but I refused to go to television because I changed my skin with the type of work that I presented, starting with the movie “Against the Government” and “The Flames of Revenge”, “Hot Night” with Nour Al-Sharif, “Jannat Al Shayatin” and other works that made me continue in the cinema.


ï        With your many successful works – are there works that you regret submitting?

No… It is not a matter of regret, because the films that I did not like were certainly due to my age and my lack of experience at that time, and perhaps these films were appropriate for the time in which I acted them. But when I see them now, I mean, while I’m more experienced, I would probably say that this work is not as valuable as I would have liked to see myself in. But certainly, not all of the artist’s work, in general, can have the same strength.


ï        Have you listened to the advice of one of your colleagues in choosing your business?

Yes, the late great artist Nour al-Sharif was a loyal friend and colleague who advised and helped his colleagues and gave them important advice. I consulted him on many technical matters and he gave me advice with honesty, love and sincerity, but I did not do what he advised me and now I regret it.



ï        Lebleba… Do you feel lonely?

Loneliness has been my companion for a long time, but I got used to it and she and I became friends. It is no longer strange to me and loneliness gives me inner serenity even when I enter somewhere where there is noise and many people.


ï        Do you feel that people’s love has compensated you for your sacrifice of love and stability and the formation of a family?

Certainly, the love of the audience in itself represents a great and difficult responsibility for me, and I am not ready to lose even one member of my audience.


ï        You always strive for cinema while movie stars strive for television?

Frankly, I did not find scenarios that would encourage me to present TV series or soap operas. This is perhaps due to my personal estimation. I do not ask scriptwriters to write a special series for me. I would rather sit in my house and be content with choosing only what is offered to me.

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