Rachida Abdel-Salam

1932 – 2008

Rashida Abdel-Salam was an aspiring actress but, as she put it, “I couldn’t be an actress because I can’t roll my R’s properly, so I found out about editing.” It was a valuable discovery: Between 1959 and 2004, Abdel-Salam edited thirty-six films for some of the most celebrated Egyptian directors, including Youssef Chahine (including Destiny/Al-massir, The Emigrant/ Al-mohager, and Silence… We’re Rolling/Skoot hansawwar), Hussein Kamal (Something to Fear/Shay’ Min Al-Khawf), Helmy Rafla (Mabodet el gamahir) and Henry Barakat (Shame/Al-Haram).

“The directors are known: they’re the bosses. The scriptwriter: well, he’s a writer. The actors are known, even the set designer and the make-up artist are known. Their jobs are easy to understand. But film editing? No one knows about editing. You would have to write a book about it.”

“Some people can’t write unless they have a pen in their hand. They have cramps in their wrist, it’s a painful thing, but they love it. When a writer breaks off to sharpen his pencil, there’s a moment of thought: you dream for a second. It allows you to continue, to begin creation anew. It’s the same for me: when I pause to mark the film for cutting, my mind keeps working; I am actually deciding what the next step will be.”
—Two extracts from “Rashida Abdel-Salam: Real to real” by Pascale Ghazaleh. The full text can be found in the Appendix