Rafik El-Sabban, 1933-2013. (Photo: Still from 'Tache d'encre', Nile TV programme hosting El-Sabban in April 2013)
On Saturday 17 August, Mohamed Rafiq El-Sabban, professor of cinema, scriptwriter and film critic, passed away in a Cairo hospital where he was admitted a week ago following a sudden health crisis.
Born in 1931, El-Sabban was one of the most renowned cinema critics and scriptwriters in the history of Syrian and Egyptian cinema.
In the 1950s he began his apprenticeship with Jean Vilar and returned to Damascus, Syria, where he became an important figure in national theatre and television. He moved to Egypt in the '70s where he established himself as an important cinema professor, film critic and scriptwriter.
El-Sabban remained active in the cinema scene throughout all his life. He wrote around 25 film scripts and 16 television series.
He was a returning jury member, panelist or head of the selection committee in numerous film festivals and cinema-related events. Until very recently, he held a monthly cinema club at the Cairo Opera House.
Mohamed Rafiq El-Shabban also co-authored The Golden Years of Egyptian Cinema 1936-1967,released in 2008: a book presenting the Egyptian cinema through movie still shots and text commentaries.