Egypt has long been the Arab region’s cinematic hub. Indeed, Arab stars from around the region come to Egypt with the hopes of making a name for themselves. Today we have stars like Eyad Nassar, Saba Mubarak, and Kinda Alloush, and of course Dorra Zarrouk.
Dorra started acting in Tunisia, where she worked on a number of Tunisian movies such as Nadia w Sarah, and Dar El-Nas, but she truly found success and fame upon arriving to Egypt. First discovered by Youssef Chahine in his last film, Heya Fawda, Dorra played a small role in the movie.
If you pay attention to Dorra’s very first roles, and compare them to more current ones, you’ll find that there has been very little growth in her acting skills. A lot of people say that acting comes by practice; unfortunately, this has not yet happened with Dorra, who seems adamant on delivering shallow performances.
Dimensionless characters may have been her flaw, but when her role in Seng El-Nesa came about, with the genius director Kamla Abo Zekry, we thought for sure this would be Dorra’s big break. Dorra played a character living in conflict and turmoil. Despite the depth of her character, however, Dorra was unable to deliver a performance as memorable or impactful as that of Ruby and/or Nesrin Amin.
What keeps Dorra in high demand is type casting; she makes the ideal wife to a hero, or a lover to a protagonist, with this Ramadan season being no exception. She’s a beautiful character that works well in these secondary roles, but unfortunately for her, she’s restricted by the limits of that stereotype. But let us consider her countrywoman, Hend Sabry. Hend is a Tunisian actress as well, but unlike Dorra, she has portrayed a multitude of characters that all differ from one other. We all saw how natural Hend’s performance was in the film Ahla El-Aw2at, and how authentic her Upper Egyptian accent was in the El-Gezira movies, and so on and so forth.
Granted, Hend Sabry first appeared in 2001, six years before Dorra’s first role. But we’re assessing the sheer range of both actresses here. Indeed, Dorra was recently the star of her own TV show called, El Share’ Ely Warana and, unlike Hend Sabry, Dorra proved that her acting skills were not enough to have her carry a series in her name just yet.
As an actress, Dorra still has a lot of roads to travel. But her development so far is not the most promising. We hope to see her play more diverse roles, ones where she truly makes an effort to learn about her character, and to give it depth. Dorra’s pretty girl-next-door appearance may have helped her reach her current fame, but without her working on her acting skills, that fame might quickly fade away.