Fatma Said – Reviving a Forgotten Treasure

© James Bort


A film by Ralf Pleger

“Fatma Said – Reviving a Forgotten Treasure” is a colorful, touching, and entertaining documentary and film musical that bridges the cultures of the Middle East and Europe. The film follows acclaimed soprano Fatma Said on her mission to save a treasure of Arab culture that is in danger of disappearing: the astonishing work of the composer Mohamed Abdelwahab.


Mohamed Abdelwahab (1901-1991) was an Egyptian singer, actor and composer who shaped 20th century music in the Arab world and far beyond. In his compositions he disregarded the boundaries between genres. His music is anything but elitist. It masterfully combines Arabic traditions with European classical music, jazz and rock’n’roll. His film musicals impress viewers with lavish dance scenes, dramatic vocal numbers and touching duets (duets were unknown in Arabic music until then). In fact, he combined different cultures through music.


With zeal, charm, and her own artistic talent, Fatma Said uses unusual ways to track down Abdelwahab’s music, save it from possible disappearance, celebrate it anew and rediscover it for further generations. Award-winning opera and film director Ralf Pleger (“The Wagner Files”, “The Florence Foster Jenkins Story“, “Tristan and Isolde”), tells the story of Fatma Said’s adventure and her mission to save Abdelwahab’s legacy with poetic and musical drive, narrative surprises, emotion, and a great deal of cinematic magic.

Development co-funded by the European Union.