Director Henri Barakat spent 58 years in the field of art as a director, scriptwriter, editor and producer, during which he was awarded many titles such as the sheikh of directors, the father of romantic cinema and the pioneer of poetic realism.
His journey began in 1935 with the production of “Antar Effendi”, but he turned to directing 5 years later as an assistant director for Stefan Rosti in the movie “The Workshop”, after which he embarked on the journey of one of the great directors in the history of Egyptian cinema. Read also Hollywood director Hisham Hajji for the documentary: “I wanted to show a beautiful and strong Morocco” Moroccan director Fatima Aklaz reveals the secrets of “The Last Mine” Turkish director Nuri Ceylan.. Turkish countryside coffee with the smell of Russian literature International Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri: Why is the Lebanese being asked to resist for Palestine more than the Palestinians?!
Henri Antoine Barakat’s origins are not Lebanese, as is commonly believed. He was born on June 11, 1914 in the Shubra neighborhood, and he said in one of his interviews, “I am an Egyptian from an Egyptian father who worked as a doctor in the countryside until he became an undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, and my father told me that they lived in the Levant in houses Underneath are catacombs, and my grandfather was working as a jeweler in the Hamidiya market in Syria, and when my grandfather learned that Christians were being chased, he collected his money in order to escape with his family to Egypt, but he was killed after he gave the money to his daughter and asked her to distribute it fairly among the brothers, and indeed the family moved, and Henry was born in Shubra He studied at the Freer Schools.
Between romance and realism, Barakat Directing School diversified, which presented different cinematic colors. different social, and then learn how to attract those in front of him for what he offers.
At the age of twenty, his brother Charles was offered to produce a movie, and to enter into a new business called “cinema” and in the presence of cinematographer Alvizi Orfanelli, Charles asked his brother Henry to work with him, and indeed his first experience was through the movie “Antar Effendi”. Directed by Rosti, starring Samira Kholousi.
Henry was not convinced by the exaggerated performance of the actors in the film, which failed miserably, which made him think of traveling to Paris to study in order to familiarize himself with all the details of the movie and prepare himself to be qualified to work in the cinema he loved while working on the film.
After his return, Aziza Amir was preparing for her movie “The Workshop” directed by Rosti, and they agreed that Henry would be the assistant director and perform the tasks of “Script and Clacket” for 30 pounds. He also participated in the decoration, accessories and laboratory, which made Aziza Amir believe in his talent, so he then worked as an assistant. In films such as “Return to the Country, The Apple Seller” as well as “The Fifth Groom” with producer Asia and Mary Queenie, which he presented in 1942, the same year in which he made 4 films of his direction, he started with the movie “The Homeless” about a story by Antoine Chekhov and “If I was Ghani, the accused, but Janan” as he was still searching for his way.
Barakat’s work continued, in which he presented romantic duets, and gathered singing and acting stars at the same time to present lyrical films such as “The Heart Has One” by Sabah and Anwar Wagdy, and “Habib Al-Omar, Afita Hanim” by Farid Al-Atrash and Samia Gamal, and presented with Laila Murad “Shati Al Gharam” , The love of love, sorry, Zahr, by Shadia and Karem Mahmoud, and one of his lyrical films is “Dima with you, a message of love, have mercy on my tears.”
Barakat was also the secret of success in Abdel Halim Hafez’s films, as he was able to hire the actors who participated in front of “Nightingale” in order to show him in the best picture in films such as “Days and Nights, A Date of Love, Girls of the Day”, as well as the Lebanese actress Fayrouz presented in “Safar Barlik.. Exile” and it is not the only film he presented in Lebanon, where he also directed “The Wedding Night, The Guardian’s Daughter, Three Women, The Great Love”.
The right of women and peasants
With experience and maturity, Barakat began the stage of making films during which he was interested in humanitarian issues, but in a romantic framework, so he was known as the pioneer of poetic realism in Arab cinema.
Barakat was also interested in defending the peasants in “The Haram”, who represented Egypt at the Cannes Film Festival. As for the woman, he expressed her freedom and right to serve her country through “The Open Door” 1963, and Faten Hamama was the heroine of the three films, where there was artistic chemistry that combines them.
Faten presented many works with him, and the duo was interested in presenting issues that delve into the lives of the marginalized, such as the movie “Mouths and Rabbits”, as well as “No Solace for Women”, which defended the right of women to divorce.
The film Ataa Barakat continued until 1993, and his last film was “An Investigation with a Citizenship” to end his artistic career before his death on May 27, 1997 at the age of 83, leaving a cinematic credit of more than 100 films, and many awards and certificates of appreciation that he received during his career.