- Actors: Tawfik Badawi, Virginia Danielson, Amal Fahmy, Om Koultoum, Omar Sharif
- Directors: Michal Goldman
- Writers: Virginia Danielson
- Producers: Michal Goldman
- Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
- Language: Arabic, English
- Rated: Not RatedNR
- Number of tapes: 1
- Studio: Afd
- VHS Release Date: November 11, 1998
- Run Time: 67 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
- ASIN: 6305188009
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,833 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt [VHS]
She had the musicality of Ella Fitzgerald, the public presence of Eleanor Roosevelt and the audience of Elvis Presley. Her name was Umm Kulthum and she became a powerful symbol, first of the aspirations of her country, Egypt, and then of the entire Arab world.
Born a peasant at the turn of the century, she became a woman of great wealth and power, confidant of presidents and kings and, above all, President Gamal Abd al-Nassers unofficial ambassador in the region. Four million people were on the streets of Cairo for her funeral in 1975. To this day, her cassettes outsell every other Arabic female vocalist.
Narrated by Omar Sharif, Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt is the first documentary to bring Umm Kulthum to an American audience. The film puts her life in the context of the epic story of 20th century Egypt as it shook off colonialism and confronted modernity. The camera explores her astonishing connection with her audience, taking us into her village in the Nile Delta and into the cafes, markets and streets of Cairo where she lived and worked. From the Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz to a 12-year-old girl in an outdoor restaurant, people speak about the role Umm Kulthums music has played in their lives and sing their favorite songs for the camera.
This beautifully styled documentary, narrated by Omar Sharif, carefully balances elements so that the video never drags. Long clips of Umm Kulthum singing are interspersed with a dramatized voice-over and shots of the Egyptian countryside. Interviews with writers, journalists, musicologists, folks on the street, a radio commentator, and even Nobel novelist Naguib Mahfouz emphasize the importance of her voice to the people who listened to her. Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt succeeds in making the singer and the music, and even to a certain extent the politics of the country, accessible to a whole new generation of music lovers. --Jenny Brown
Top Customer Reviews
You're probably wondering by now, what the hey - not much - does all that have to do with the review of Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt? Well, in a very round-a-bout way, smile, the point is that I loaned my coveted copy of Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt, to a friend, but forgot whom... So, recently, I bought a copy while shopping on Amazon.Read more ›
There is footage of her performances, showing the rapturous response of her audiences and describing the distinctive style of singing poetic lyrics, typically about love, extending a single song over the length of an hour or more. (A description of one of her regular radio broadcasts is described in Rabih Alameddine's recent novel "The Hakawati.") The film includes scenes from her films and interviews with men and women who knew her, including Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz, with narration by Omar Sharif and a director's commentary.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I highly recommend this very well done movie about a legend! Umm Kulthum was a singer whose life was a mystery to most. This movie really does her life and legacy justice.Published on February 17, 2014 by GKitani
Dramatic and soulful Saw it at a theatre many years ago and never forgot it. Such a wonderous voice. Enjoyed it againPublished on October 12, 2013 by Cyndi S
bought it as a gift for a friend and it arrived on time, met all my expectations. I will always purchase from Amazon.Published on June 10, 2013 by Nora Miller
Her life was as fascinating as her music. My only complaint is that I liked it so much, it wasn't long enough.Published on June 4, 2010 by Reader
This is an excellent overview of her life and career. If you know her music you will enjoy the background information and the interviews about her and her music. Read morePublished on September 25, 2009 by Patricia A. Kinchlow
This is an interesting documentary about a music star little known in the United States, but I would have been glad to hear quite a bit more singing, in addition to the cultural... Read morePublished on January 8, 2009 by William Linsley
An excellent introduction to this legend narrated by the great Omar Sherif
(Dr. Zhivago). The world has witnessed the talents of Mozart, Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein,... Read more
I saw this a few years ago, had never heard of Kulthum but the doc really brings out how amazing a singer she was. Read morePublished on May 14, 2008 by A. B. Bennett