Bahiga Hafez’s 112th Birthday – Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Cairo-based guest artist Mariam ElReweny, celebrates the 112th birthday of a pioneer in Egyptian cinema, the multi-hyphenate actor, producer, director, editor, costume designer, and composer Bahiga Hafez on her 112th birthday. Hafez was widely known as a prodigious talent on camera as well as behind the scenes and helped bring some of Egypt’s earliest feature films to the big screen.
Bahiga Hafez was born on this day in 1908 in the northern Egyptian city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean Sea. She earned a degree in music composition in Paris in 1930 and then returned to Egypt, where she had success crafting music for the record companies of the day. Her career soon took a turn when she was cast as the female lead in the film “Zeinab” (1930), for which she also composed the soundtrack.
Before long, Hafez was inspired to tell her own stories and opened Fanar Film Company with her husband Mahmoud Hamdi. In 1932, the company released its first film, “al-Dahaya” (“The Victims”), and Hafez shaped the entire film process as lead actor, producer, editor, costume designer, and composer.
Hafez went on to produce and direct numerous films over the following two decades and later established an influential cultural salon in Cairo to support the city’s artistic community. Her work helped pave the way for the start of what is widely considered Egyptian cinema’s golden age in the 1940s, and she is depicted in the Doodle artwork wearing a costume inspired by the many opulent wardrobes she designed from this era of film.
The original version of “al-Dahaya” was rediscovered in 1995 and shown at the National Film Festival in Cairo, introducing a new generation to Hafez’s work.
Shukran, Bahiga Hafez, your efforts set the scene for generations of filmmakers to come!
Early concepts and sketches of the Doodle
You can find more about Bahiga Hafez’s 112th Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page