Nabeeha Lotfy, Lebanese-Egyptian documentary filmmaker, dies at 78

Ahram Online , Thursday 18 Jun 2015

Lotfy leaves behind her a series of documentaries, and performances in films by Daoud Abdel Sayed and Ibrahim El-Batout

Nabeeha Lotfy
Lebanese-Egyptian veteran documentary filmmaker Nabeeha Lotfy

Nabeeha Lotfy, one of Egypt’s distinguished female documentary filmmakers, passed away last Wednesday. Funeral prayers were held today, Thursday, at El-Sayyeda Nafisa mosque.

Lotfy was born on 28 January 1937 in Sidon, Southern Lebanon. In 1953, she was studying political science at the American University in Beirut when she was one of students to be expelled for participating in a demonstration about the Baghdad Pact.

Egyptian president Gamal Abd El-Nasser welcomed the expelled students to complete their studies in Egypt, and Lotfy came to Egypt where she completed a degree in Arabic Literature from Cairo University in 1957.

Next, Lotfy worked as a journalist for a short time before she went on to study at the Higher Film Institute in 1960. She was among the institute’s first class to graduate in 1964.

Upon graduation, Lotfy worked as an assistant director for TV films, before she joined renowned Egyptian director Shadi Abdel Salam at the department for experimental film at the Egyptian Film Centre and turned to documentary filmmaking.

Her rich cinematography includes Sala Min Nawahi Misr al-‘atiqa (Prayer from Old Cairo,1972), Li’ann al-guzur lan tamut (Because the Roots Never Die, 1975), ‘Arusati (My Bride-1983), Ila ayn? (Where to?, 1991), Risala min Higaza (Message from Hegaza, 1994), Innaha tazra’ al-ard wa tasqiha (She Cultivates, She Irrigates, 1999), Sharia Mohammed Ali/Remains of a Certain Time (Mohamed Ali Street, 2003) and Carioca (2009).  

In 1990, Lotfy founded the Association of Egyptian Women Filmmakers. She also took on acting roles in Daoud Abdel-Sayed's Rasael El-Bahr (Messages from the Sea, 2010), Ibrahim El Batout's Ein Shams (2008), and TV drama series Khawaga Abdel-Qader (2012).

Lotfy was honoured by the Egyptian Film Critics Association in April, and by the Catholic Film Centre in February.

The Egyptian Film Festival also honoured her in 2001.

The wake for Nabeeha Lotfy is yet to be announced.

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