Amina Rizq’s acting career has spanned seven decades. In 1924, she and her aunt Amina Muhammad, also an actress, left Tanta, their provincial hometown. Rizq settled in Cairo, joined the Ramses Troupe and has since continued her acting career uninterrupted. Her first appearance in film was in the silent feature Suad al-Ghagariya (Suad the Gypsy, 1928). Her most recent appearance was in the 1996 film Nasser 56.
Rizq never married and says she has no regrets. As she tells it, she has devoted herself to an art that dazzled her from the beginning. She was, however, closely linked to Yusef Wahbi in the first two decades of her career. She describes him as a “great pioneer and teacher.” Because the two were together for so long, the public believed they were married, or at least lovers. They collaborated in many of Wahbi’s plays and his early films, starting in 1932 with Awlad al-Zawat (Children of the Aristocracy), the first Egyptian talkie and only Rizq’s second film, and ending with Sa’at al-Sifr (Zero Hour) in 1938. With the exception of the first film, which was directed by Muhammad Karim, all their films were directed by Yusef Wahbi himself.
With the exceptions of Yusef Chahine and Tawfik Salih, Amina Rizq has worked with all the great directors of Egyptian cinema. They saw in her face a strong peasant beauty which expressed the grace of Egyptian womanhood. She has a grasp of popular consciousness, imbued with an ennobling sadness that has only become richer over the years.
Even in her youth she played mothers, and did it so well that she became the standard for the role. One of the most important of these performances was in Ard al-Ahlam (Land of Dreams, 1993), where, as mother of Fatin Hamama, she outshines even that great star.