Youssef Chahine, 1926 – 2008.


Youssef Chahine, one of Egypt’s most lauded movie directors whose films over nearly five decades often went on Fellini-esque flights of fancy and tackled social ills and Islamic fundamentalism, died Sunday in Cairo. He was 82 years old. His death comes about four weeks after he fell into a coma following a brain hemorrhage.

Here’s a clip of Chahine at work on what became his last film CHAOS.



One Response to “Youssef Chahine, 1926 – 2008.”

  1. Ryan Says:

    This in this morning from John Sinno, president of Seattle-based Arab Film Distribution (which distributes the DVD and 35mm prints of several Chahine films in the US –

    Please join Arab Film Distribution/Typecast Films in mourning the passing of director Youssef Chahine, one of the Arab World’s most influential filmmakers and a treasure of international cinema.

    World-famous Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine, whose career as director spanned nearly six decades, died yesterday 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.

    A prolific, creative and hard-working director, Youssef Chahine will be remembered not only for his imaginative, music-filled works that entertain audiences even as they examine the social and political issues of Egypt, but also for his role in bringing Egyptian cinema to the attention of appreciative movie-goers all around the world.

    We at AFD/Typecast Films are grateful for the innumerable contributions Youssef Chahine has made to Egyptian cinema and his work with upcoming filmmakers throughout the Middle East. The Egyptian master of cinema will certainly be missed.

    John Sinno
    AFD/Typecast Films
    Seattle, WA 98121

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