Youssef Chahine, 1926-2008



Cairo As Seen By Chahine

5:15 p.m. Fri., Aug. 8

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center

1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 827-5858;


The New Orleans Middle East Film Festival, currently running through August 10, presents a screening of the documentary in memoriam of the Egyptian filmmaker, who died in his home last week at age 82. From the festival:


World-famous Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine, whose career as director spanned nearly six decades, died July 27th at his home in Cairo, Egypt at the age of 82. Born in Alexandria, Egypt on January 25, 1926, Chahine studied at Alexandria University for a year before moving to the USA to study acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. Returning to Egypt, Chahine turned his attention to directing, making his film debut with BAB AMIN [Papa Amin] in 1950. He received his first invitation to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival with his second feature, IBN AL-NIL [Nile Boy], in 1951. Youssef Chahine's 1954 classic, SIRA' FI AL-WADI [The Blazing Sun] featured the film debut of Omar Sharif, whom Chahine had discovered in a Cairo cafe. In 1958, Chahine himself starred alongside Hind Rostom and Farid Chawki in BAB EL HADID [Cairo Station], a noir-like thriller involving the working-classes in Cairo's main railway station. Other career highlights include the popular epic films AL NASSER SALAH AD-DIN [Saladin] in 1963 and AL-ARD [The Land] in 1969, along with AL-ASFUR [The Sparrow] in 1973 and the semi-autobiographical, Fellini-influenced ALEXANDIRA TRILOGY, which includes the award-winning ISKANDARIYAH...LIH? [Alexandria... Why?] from 1978, HADDUTA MISRIYAH [An Egyptian Story] from 1982 and ISKANDARIYAH KAMAN WA KAMAN [Alexandria, Again and Forever] from 1989, for which Chahine again stepped in front of the camera as actor. In his later years, Chahine remained as busy as ever, directing AL-MISSER [Destiny] in 1997, SKOOT HANSAWWAR [Silence, We're Rolling] in 2001 and a coda to his ALEXANDRIA TRILOGY called ISKANDARIYAH, NEW YORK [Alexandria, New York] in 2004. He also contributed short films to international multi-director projects such as LUMIERE AND COMPANY in 1995 and 11'09"01-SEPTEMBER 11 in 2002. Chahine's last feature, HEYA FAWDA [This Is Chaos] was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2007.


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