Bibo W Beshir sets up a new wave of romantic comedy in Egypt. The quality of picture goes hand in hand with the quality of script to provide us with this season’s popcorn entertainment. What’s cool about this movie is the ‘first-experience’ factor that defines it. It’s Mariam Abo Ouf’s first blockbuster to direct, it’s Asser Yassin’s first comedy role and it’s Karim Fahmi’s first movie to ever write.
If you watched the trailer, you might think that it’s the come back of repeated Egyptian plots in which the hero fights against the heroine to win over the condo, but if you watch the movie, you’ll find that the plot tackles a whole new story in which two lovers live in the same apartment for months without knowing it! We met up backstage with cast and crew to get all the behind the scenes details.
Mariam Abu Ouf
Congrats on your first movie, tell us why Bibo Wa Beshir as your first?
What I liked about the movie is the originality of the script. Being original and not stolen are both powerful factors to make me choose it as my first film.
Did you take any fearless decisions?
Well, I was very scared at first due to the fact that I’m not a big viewer of Egyptian comedy but I’m a big fan of romantic comedy in general. This movie is very different than romantic comedies we’ve seen in Egypt before, I’m not saying that it has a foreign touch, it is Egyptian but different and original.
Are you satisfied with the outcome?
I definitely feel like I’ve done my best, but it’s hard for me to judge on the final outcome as I was editing and watching the film through out all its phases. But the good news is we got really great feedback from the audience.
What was the attraction to the script?
I was looking for a comedy role, I met with Karim Fahmi on the set of Ard Khas and he told me about his idea. I got really excited and we took it from there.
It’s your first comedy role, how did you prepare for it?
I started visualizing the character with all its details and I took training sessions on how to speak swahili.
Amid the revolution we met you in Tahrir and you said that if the regime didn’t fall it’ll be the end of your career, so what are your feelings today?
It wouldn’t just have been the end of my acting career, it would have been the end of everything, and it’ll be the end of my soul. It was beyond our passion I wouldn’t have anything that I would have passion for if the regime didn’t fall. Hope wouldn’t have existed and when hope is gone everything else disappears.
Tell us what were your feelings when you first saw the movie on screen?
Being my first film to write, I found that a lot of the scenes were removed from the movie and I wished they were there like I intended them to be but when I sat down with Mariam she told me that she thinks that’s for the best and her point of view turned out to be just right. When I saw people laughing in the cinema and everything was fine, I was very much satisfied. It’s normal to have minor differences between script writer and director, and at most times it’s for the benefit of the film.
What makes this movie different?
Well, simply because I rock (laughs). No of course I’m kidding, what makes it different is a good structure of a romantic comedy. I didn’t imitate foreign movies and at the same time I wanted it to obtain good quality with an obvious Egyptian touch. Bibo Wa Beshir became a box-office hit, but it wasn’t number one because Share’a El Haram was. That wasn’t a surprise, because every Eid, similar style of movies win the box-office race. I wish we could take the Egyptian audience to another type of cinema, a cinema where the passion of actors, script writers and directors is shown on screens. We want the critics and the audience to turn their heads towards young filmmakers and encourage them to bring something different to the table.
How was it like working with co-writer Hesham Maged?
We‘ve been close friends for ages. He’s a friend and co-actor of my brother Ahmed Fahmi and we grew up together. We have a lot in common and when I told him about my idea he told me that it’ll be great to write it up together so we hit it off right away. Hesham wrote and acted in War’et Shafra, Samir, Shaheer and Baheer and co-wrote Boshkash and Fassel W Na’ood. I benefited from him a lot I must say.
Do you think the time will ever come when we see funny yet sexy actresses on screen?
You just nailed the hammer on the head. I’m facing a big problem because I have written a new film in which I need a good comedienne who understands the equation of being funny and sexy at the same time. Menna Shalaby in Bibo Wa Beshir had the ability to make you laugh and that’s because the situations are funny and as a great actress she knows how to be funny, but we are really missing female actresses who understand the notion of being funny even if the situation isn’t funny enough. It also depends on the director because a good director will guide a good comedienne.