We don't often think of it but Egypt was really the birthplace of cinema. And along with the great silent films made in the 1920s there, women filmmakers found their voices -- pardon the pun. Women like Aziza Amir, pictured above, who produced silent drama Laila in 1927 – the first Egyptian film ever made.
In a wonderfully in-depth article just published on the Harper's Bazaar Arabia, journalist Devinder Bains talks about the legends born out of the nightlife area of Ezbekiyya, "women didn’t only work the clubs and theatres as dancers, singers and actresses, the women were also the troupe leaders, the talent scouts, the club owners, the magazine publishers, the theatre landlords and, in turn, the Arab world’s first celebrities. Here, within the thriving music halls of Emad al-Din street was the birthplace of Egypt’s underground feminist movement."
The article coincides with British author Raphael Cormack's new book Midnight in Cairo: The Divas of Egypt’s Roaring ’20s, published in March by W W Norton.
To read the article in full, visit the Bazaar Arabia website.