FILMS FOR YOUR EYES:
A TRIBUTE TO RAMSES MARZOUK
The cooperation between a director and a cinematographer — such as mine with Ramses Marzouk — is very much like a marriage and involves the same duties.
As in a marriage, it is essential to overcome contradictions and differences in temperament before the marriage can be considered successful, so that, during shooting, people don’t need to use words to understand each other.
Youssef Chahine, Cairo, 26 October 2004
In 1979, I met Ramses Marzouk on a shoot as an assistant-director. For my first short film, I asked Ramses, who already was a renowned cinematographer, to do the photography. Although he could not be paid, he accepted shooting the film on 35mm, I made Drop of Water in the Western Desert, a film which won many awards. Later, I asked him to work on Beggars and Nobles, which he gladly accepted. We got on very well and worked in total understanding of each other.
Asma El-Bakri, Rabah (Morocco), September 2004
Ramses Marzouk – a dangerous man!
25 years ago during the first Festival of the 3 Continents, Mary Meerson, partner of Henri Langlois, the director of Cinémathèque française, introduced a young photographer to us. He had an exhibition of amazing black and white photos and was making his début in cinéma. “My boys, you must invite this guy”, she told us pointing at Ramses Marzouk. 25 years later, when we had to choose a cinematographer in relation to our “Film for your eyes” theme, I immediately thought of Ramses Marzouk as, in the meantime, he had been responsible for the photography of films made by major Egyptian film-makers such as Youssef Chahine, Kamel Sheikh, Salah Abou Seif, as well as younger directors (Asma El-Bakri, Yousri Nasrallah), thus demonstrating his versatility. Is Ramses Marzouk a dangerous man? This has to do with a personal anecdote because, in 25 years, we have become very good friends, whether in Cairo, on shootings or finding locations. In 1980, while carrying film stock from France (Kodak stock was then unavailable in Egypt), I was arrested (for a few hours only!) at Cairo airport. A few days later, on the desert road, notorious for its accidents, Ramses almost killed me when he practically lost one of his car wheels. He remained typically cool and just told me the mechanic had forgotten to tighten the bolts.