Renowned Syrian director, actor, screenwriter, and author Hatem Ali died of a heart attack on Tuesday at the age of 58. He was in Cairo:

Ali — born in the Golan Heights in June 1962 — studied theater in Damascus before launching a career as an actor. He later moved into directing and writing, and produced and directed numerous TV series and films that have been recognized both regionally and internationally.

Ali’s films have garnered a number of awards. He is particularly known for directing Al-Layl al-Taweel (The Long Night), Al Oshak (The Lovers), al-Malek Farouk (Farouk the King), and Shanghaf (Passion). 

He was also director of Omar, a series about the life of Omar ibn Al-Khattab banned by Egypt in 2019. In a 2006 interview with Arab News, he said he considered a dialogue with history the only way to understand today’s problems, as they are often variations on yesterday’s problems. “If we don’t read history critically, the works will be either promotional, selecting only the bright pages or will simply relate history without presenting a realistic dialogue or debate.” 

The news was announced by screenwriter Abdul Rahim Kamal, who posted a photo of the two of them together on Facebook.

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