Screencap of Youssef Chahine in an interview from Mark Cousins' The Story of film An Odyssey', December 14, 2017 - OK EDEN/Youtube Channel.
CAIRO – 1 September 2018: Zawya Cinema will screen 20 newly restored films by late iconic Egyptian director Youssef Chahine when it reopens its new venue on September 12 to September 22.
Zawya planned these films screenings to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Chahine's death and is organised by Chahine’s company Misr International Films, in collaboration with Egyptian and European partners.
The film screenings will be accompanied by workshops, discussions, and lectures.
Egyptian director Basel Ramsis will present a masterclass on 14 and 15 September to look at the development of Chahine’s vision and how his storytelling methods developed.
Chahine’s films to be screened:
“Daddy Amin” - 1950
“Lady on A Train” - 1952
“The Blazing Sun” - 1954
“The Desert Devil” - 1954
“Dark Waters” -1955
“My One and Only Love” - 1957
“Farewell My Love” - 1957
“Cairo Station” - 1958
“Saladin” - 1963
“Dawn of a New Day” - 1964
“The Land” - 1969
“Return Of The Prodigal Son” - 1976
“Alexandria, Why?” - 1978
“An Egyptian Story” - 1982
“Adieu Bonaparte” - 1984
“The Sixth Day” - 1986
“Alexandria Again And Forever” - 1989
“The Emigrant”- 1994
“Destiny” - 1997
“The Other” – 1999
Chahine or “The Professor” as dubbed by his students has been considered one of Egypt’s greatest directors, having filmed a wide variety of films for over five decades.
Youssef Chahine was born in Alexandria in 1926. He travelled to Hollywood to study acting in Pasadena Playhouse, California in 1946. Upon his return, he decided to shift from acting to directing.
Chahine directed his first film “Baba Amin” (Dady Amin) in 1950. The following year, he directed his second, “Ibn El-Nil” (Son of the Nile), which was his first film featured at the Cannes Film Festival. Another famous film of his, “Al-Ikhtiyar” (The Choice), was awarded a Golden Tanit in Carthage Film Festival in 1970.
Nine years later, “Eskenderia Leh” (Alexandria …Why?), which is directed by Chahine and narrates his early life, won a Silver Bear and Special Jury prize in Berlin International Film Festival.
He continued the autobiographic quartet with “Hadouta Masryia” (An Egyptian story) in 1982, “Eskendria Kaman we Kaman” (Alexandria Again and Again) in 1990 and “Eskendria…New York” (Alexandria…New York) in 2004.
Chahine cooperated with the legendary French singer Dalida in “El-Youm El-Sades” (The Sixth Day). She played the role of a poor, humble Egyptian woman. He also established a production company named “Aflam Masr El-Alamya” (Misr International Films), producing plenty of films, some of which were directed by other directors, such “Shafiqa we Metwally” (Shafiqa and Metwally) by Aly Badrakhan.
El-Maseer (The Destiny) was nominated for the Palme d'Or in 1997, and against all expectations, the film did not win any prizes in the festival. His cooperation with French production companies and choosing themes appealing to the western taste were his key to get into the international arena.
In 1997, Chahine was awarded, among many other awards, the 50th annual Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Youssef Chahine left a legacy of 42 movies, starting in 1950 with “Daddy Amin” and ending with “Chaos” in 2007.
Chahine has a rare style in directing his movies. He used to act for the actors to get them to perform the scene as he wants them. This was shown clearly in his brilliant movie “Al Mohager” (The Immigrant), where the Pharaohs were speaking in colloquial dialect, in the way he himself talks.
He had a very distinct way of speaking: short and fast. This pattern was criticized widely, yet the movie was a huge success, although controversial due to the notion that the hero of the movie is the Prophet Joseph. According to the religious edict of al-Azhar, prophets should not be impersonated in drama. Chahine changed the name to “Ram” and bypassed the decision. The images literally talked in this movie due to the genius of Ramses Marzook, the director of photography.