the films of
the 36th new york film festival:
youssef chahine: egyptian auteur
This program is presented with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Though Egyptian director Youssef Chahine has been making extraordinary movies at a prodigious rate for almost half a century, few Americans outside critical and festival circles have had the opportunity to view his work. (A complete Chahine retrospective was mounted at the Locarno Film Festival in 1996, and he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.) As part of the 36th New York Film Festival, we are proud to showcase selected works by this master of cinema at the Walter Reade Theater.
Note: all films are subtitled in English.
CAIRO AS TOLD BY YOUSSEF CHAHINE
THE PRODIGAL SON
CAIRO STATION / BAB EL HADID
(1958; 86 minutes)
Cairo's main railroad station is the setting for Egyptian society in small, a community comprised of luggage carriers and soft-drink sellers who live in abandoned traincars. A crippled newspaper dealer, Kinawi (Chahine himself), falls in love with the beauteous but indifferent Hanuma, a lemonade seller who has eyes only for the handsome Abu Sri'. Swept away by his obsessive desire, Kinawi kidnaps the object of his passion, with terrible consequences. This Chahine masterpiece explores sexuality and repression, madness and violence, among the marginalized. CAIRO STATION brought the director international recognition at the Berlin Film Festival.
CAIRO AS SEEN BY YOUSSEF CHAHINE
(1991; 22 minutes)
This concise masterpiece began as a commission by French TV for the news series Envoyé spécial. By filming Cairo with his unique sense of artistic digression, Chahine transformed this portrait of a city into the self-portrait of a filmmaker. -- 1996 Program, Locarno International Film Festival
Saturday, September 26: 2 pm
Sunday, September 27: 4:30 pm
Wednesday, September 30: 4, 6:30 and 9 pm
IT'S YOU MY LOVE / INTA HABIBI
THE LAND / EL-ARD
ALEXANDRIA, WHY? / ISKANDERIYA LEH?
ONCE UPON A TIME THE NILE / EL-NAAS WA EL-NIL
SKY OF HELL / SERAA FI EL-WADI
SALADIN / EL-NASSER SALAH EDDINE
(1963; 145 minutes)
When director Ezzedine Zulfiqar took ill, Chahine was called in to helm this pan-Arabian epic commemorating the reclamation of the Suez Canal. In the 12th century, Saladin, Sultan of Egypt and Syria, unites Arabs across North Africa and Western Asia against the crusading Christians, a story that echoes President Nasser's contemporary uniting of Arabs against the Zionists. After defeating Richard the Lion-Hearted, the legendary Saladin pledges that Arab Jerusalem will remain open to all pilgrims, whatever their religion. Chahine himself appears as one of the main characters in what has been called the greatest historical epic of Egyptian cinema.
Friday, October 2: 4 and 7 pm
Saturday, October 3: 2 pm
THE CHOICE / EL-IKHTIYAR
THE SPARROW / EL-OUSFOUR
THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON /
AN EGYPTIAN STORY /
ALEXANDRIA AGAIN AND AGAIN /
Special weeklong screenings of
DESTINY / EL-MASSIF
"The most courageous frontal attack on Islamic fundamentalism to come out of the Arab cinema to date...both an entertaining historical biopic...and a blunt allegory condemning the politically driven fanaticism of present times." -- Deborah Young, Variety