|Biographical detail : ||Film-maker who was known as social realist of Egyptian cinema.
Atef’s 1966 film Khan el-Khalilli, which uncovered the bankruptcy of Cairo’s middle-class morality, captured the imagination of millions of filmgoers. The Nobel Prize winning novelist Naguib Mahfouz wrote the script of the film. Atef’s career of 58 films – nearly all of his social-realism films were scripted by Mahfouz – spanned the golden age of Egyptian cinema, world’s fourth largest film industry, shaped the cultural map of the Middle East from 1920s to 1980s.
Atef and Mahfouz plotted together sitting in the local cafes where the heart of cultural life of mid-20th century Cairo beat. Music, song and belly-dancing are essential parts of Egyptians’ daily lives. Atef’s gentle manners and kindness gave opportunities to beginners that turned many of fresh faces into silver-screen idols. His sensitive handling of the material, his characterisation and treatment of his subject turned the films into social events, often with a powerful political content.
Atef Salem was born in Sudan where his father, an Egyptian army officer, was serving. He grew up and was educated in Cairo. A stroke in 1999 confined him to a wheelchair and finally he died in Cairo.