Abdel Aziz, Lobna
Lobna Abdel Aziz
Actress (Cairo, Egypt, 5.24.1935)
Born in 1935, Lobna Abdel Aziz showed very early her interest for the scene, as reported by journalist Dania Younis in a recent interview: at the age of three, she used to recite poetry on stage at her school, St. Mary’s Catholic School For Girls. Brought up by her father, a dramatist, playwright, critic and journalist raised in England, she was safe to think and learn freely. At the age of 15, Lobna was admitted to the American University in Cairo at a time when most girls were not even granted the right to education. At the same time, at 15 Lobna started her career on the radio under the name of “Little Lolo”. She was part of the “Children’s Corner”, a program where children were invited by the hosts to come and play and talk about their hobbies and interests. Lobna participated in almost all of the plays at university, directed mostly by professors. Some industry directors and producers also attended those plays and they would go backstage to try to convince Lobna to work in the cinema. Her reserved reaction to these offers revealed much about the societal restrictions of the period but nothing about the actress she was to become.
Later, when Lobna was close to graduating, one of her professors suggested she should apply for post-graduate studies abroad. At the age of 19, being the youngest and only girl who applied, she was accepted. She was extremely happy because if she couldn’t practice acting, at least she would be able to study. She left Egypt and studied theater in the U.S. at the University of California, Los Angeles. Lobna’s experience at UCLA was magical. She was exposed to Hollywood, directors and actors taught her classes, she was cast in many plays and she completed her Master.
Afterwards, she came back to Egypt for her sister’s wedding. Her father helped her land a job as a correspondent at Al-Ahram newspaper, where she was asked to do a comparison between Egyptian and American studios. But Lobna had never seen Egyptian studios before, so a colleague took her. That’s when her Egyptian film career began. Lobna quickly stole the spotlight from many actresses in the scene for being the young, courageous girl who was already known from the radio. She did a series of successful movies, working with top directors like Salah Abu Seif (El Wesada El Khaleya, 1957; Ana Horra, 1958; Ressalah Min Emraa Maghoula, 1963) and Kamal El Sheikh (Al Moukhareboun, 1967).
Through her movies, Lobna helped transform how the typical Egyptian female was portrayed in cinema, from the poor girl who was always oppressed, losing her family and needing to find love to be happy, to a strong character who stood up for herself and wanted to have choices.
In her career Lobna played in two films connected with Italian film industry. The first was Egyptian-Italian co-production La spada dell’Islam (Wa Islamah in Arabic), directed in 1961 by Andrew Marton and Enrico Bomba, and featuring Rushdy Abaza, Ahmed Mazhar, Farid Shawqi, Imad Hamdi, Mahmoud El-Meliguy, Hussein Riad, Taheya Carioca, Naima Wasfy, Zuzu Hamdi and Abbas Fares. In 1965 she appeared in Italian-French-Egyptian comedy Slalom, filmed by Luciano Salce in Egypt and also starring Nagwa Fouad.
La spada dell’Islam (1961, Enrico Bomba, ff, act), Slalom (1965, Luciano Salce, ff, act)
Frame taken from:
La spada dell’Islam. Dir. Enrico Bomba. Fi.C.It. – Finanziaria Cinematografica Italiana, Misr. Co., Il Cairo, 1961.
Contributors: Leonardo De Franceschi, with Alessio Altieri and Renata Ornella Orlando
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