A Critic is not a Judge, but a person who loves cinema: Samir Farid

New Delhi: Renowned Egyptian film critic Samir Farid says "I don‘t like people who consider a critic as a judge. I hate to consider myself a judge. I consider myself a man of cinema."

Farid, who has been awarded the Aruna Vasudev Lifetime Achievement award at the 12th Osian‘s Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema, said "everyone has a right to like or dislike any work of art or film. A critic is a professional. It is his home profession to see a film or to read or to listen to music or any kind of art. Professional critic means he has a method."

In a lecture at the OCFF, he said he studied literature and theatre and not cinema. "Each art has its own language."

One of the challenges is for a critic to know how to define a success or a failure. The film critic has no choice. He must be a reader by profession, Farid said, stressing that a film critic should be a reader of other works of arts so that he can differentiate cinema from the other arts.

He said "There are two big branches of art. The first one belongs to the popular heritage in music and literature or anything. The second being films or works of art that suppresses the individual or the work of an individual." He added: "When I write an article, I‘m looking for my reader. There has to be a harmony between the content, style and substance of a piece of art.

When asked how he was first exposed to foreign cinema as it is not widely available in Egypt, Farid said: "My first trip outside of Egypt was to the Cannes Film Festival in 1967. This was the 20th edition of the film festival. I was very fortunate to see films like Blow-Up by Antonioni at the Festival."

"Egypt produces around 40 films a year. It was about 120 in the 1990s. The industry is still alive and popular. Egyptian films have more than 70% of the market share and 30% is from American films. Hindi films are limited to 5 films a year as they are scared of the Indian film market. There is only Egyptian or American films, no third kind of culture existed for the last 20 years," he said.

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