Exhibit Offers Crash Course in Historic Egyptian Cinema

Dream Factory posterA new exhibit, Dream Factory on the Nile: Posters and Memorabilia from the Golden Age of Egyptian Film will be on display on the second floor of Green Library’s Bing Wing from January 18 through May 2, 2010.

A digital version of this exhibit will open on Friday, January 29 at the Stanford University Libraries island in Second Life. There will be an open house from 8am - 12pm staffed by members of Stanford's Island Builders group to greet you and answer questions about the exhibit. If you do not have an avatar in Second Life, you can quickly create a free basic account at http://secondlife.com. Once you have created an avatar and downloaded the application onto your computer, you can click on the following Second Life URL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Stanford%20University%20Libraries/130/135/14... which will take you directly to the in-world exhibit space.

From the 1930s through the 1960s, the Egyptian motion picture industry produced films of such number and quality that it earned the nickname “The Hollywood on the Nile.” Its films dominated the Arab market from North Africa to the Gulf, and successfully competed with films being released by the Hollywood on the Pacific.

Since 2005, the Stanford Libraries' Middle East Collections Bibliographer David Giovacchini and Curator John Eilts have built a collection of close to 400 Egyptian film posters. The exhibit brings poster images together with photographs, press booklets, and lobby cards from some of the finest films of the era, paired with narrative text by Giovacchini. In addition to his bibliographic role, David is an avid and knowledgeable film buff and the organizing force behind the Stanford Middle East Film Series.

The posters on display are reproductions produced from digital images of the originals, which are too fragile and large to display in the exhibition cases. They offer an almost complete roster of the stars of the Egyptian screen from the 1930s on. Represented are some of the biggest stars, such as heartthrob Abdel Halim Hafez; handsome leading men like Omar Sharif, Farid Shawqi, Yusuf Wahbi, and Anwar Wajdi; melodrama queen Faten Hamama; funnyman Ismail Yasin; graceful dancers like Samia Gamal, Tahiya Karioka, and Naimah Akef; and legendary singers Muhammad Abdel Wahhab, Umm Kulthum, Leila Murad, and Farid El Atrache. Also shown are materials relating to some of the industry’s best directors, producers, and screenwriters.