Youssef Chahine

25.01.1926, Alexandria, Egypt - 27.07.2008, Cairo, Egypt


Chahine is one of the best Egyptian directors, screenwriters and producers. Soon after enrolling into the University of Alexandria in 1946, he moved to California to study drama. He returned to Egypt after two years and thanks to the director of photography Alevis Orfanelli begun working in the film industry. His directing debut was the film Baba Amin (1950), and his next film, Ibn el Nil (1951), won him an invitation to Cannes. His film Bab El Hadid (Cairo Station, 1958) was not very successful with Egyptian audiences, who were used to light melodramas, and was shown twenty years later. In 1963, he directed El Naser Salah el Dine (Salladin), a historical epic about sultan Salladin who fought against Richard the Lion Hearted during the Crusades. After his film The Earth (Al ard, 1969), he made Al asfour (The Sparrow 1972), which was the first Egyptian-Algerian co production. The first part of his autobiographical “Alexandria trilogy” Iskanderija... lih? (Alexandria...why?, 1978) won Chahine the Silver Bear in Berlin. The sequels are Hadduta misrija (Egyptian Story, 1982), Iskanderija, kaman oue kaman (Alexandria Again and Forever, 1990) and Iskanderija... New York (Alexandrie... New York, 2004). His film Adieu, Bonaparte (1985) portrays Egypt at the time of Napoleon’s conquest and his film Sudbina (Al massir, 1997) tells the story of a liberal philosopher in Andalusia in 12th century. He directed segments of the omnibus Lumičre et compagnie (1995) and 11'09''01 - September 11 (2002), and is currently filming Chacun son cinéma for which he also directed a segment. In 1997 in Cannes, he won a life time achievement award.



Chacun son cinéma (2007) (filming)
Alexandrie... New York (2004)
11'09''01 - September 11 (2002) (segment Egypt)
Skoot hansawwar (2001)
L' autre (1999)
Destiny (Al massir, 1997)
Lumičre et compagnie (1995) (segment)
Al mohager (1994)
Iskanderija, kaman oue kaman (1990)
Al yawm al-Sadis (1986)
Adieu Bonaparte (1985)
Hadduta misrija (1982)
Iskanderija... lih? (1978)
Awdat al ibn al dal (1976)
Al asfour (1972)
Rimal min dhahab (1971)
Al ikhtiyar (1970)
The Earth (Al ard, 1969)
Al nass wal Nil (1968)
Biya el-Khawatim (1965)
Fagr Yom gedid (1964)
El Naser Salah el Dine (1963)
Nida al'ushshaq (1961)
Rajul fi hayati (1961)
Bein edeik (1960)
Hubb lel-abad (1959)
Bab el hadid (1958)
Djamilah (1958)
Inta habibi (1957)
Wadda'tu hubbak (1957)
Siraa Fil-Mina (1956)
Shaytan al-Sahra (1954)
Siraa Fil-Wadi (1954)
Nissae bila regal (1953)
Sayedat al-Qitar (1953)
Al muharrij al-Kabir (1952)
Ibn el Nil (1951)
Baba Amin (1950)

Films by this director

Cairo Station

(Bab El Hadid, 1958)

Directed by: Youssef Chahine
PHOTOGRAPHY: Alevise Orfanelli

The story takes place at a train station in Cairo, and the director, Youssef Chahine, plays the leading part of Qinawi. He is a simple and naďve newspaper salesman in love with Hanuma, a lemonade salesgirl. Even though she is indifferent towards Qinawi, she flirts with him because she wants to provoke her fiancée, Abou Serib.

b/w, 95 min

The Earth

(Al ard, 1969)

Directed by: Youssef Chahine
PHOTOGRAPHY: Abdelhalim Nasr

This classic Chahine film has been proclaimed one of the best Egyptian films of all time. It deals with the topic of life in poor Egyptian rural areas during the 1940s. Villagers in a small village, already living in poor conditions, are forced to fight for survival after they learn that their land will be taken from them because a road will be built next to their village.

color, 130 min

A Man in My Life

(Rajul fi hayati, 1961)

Directed by: Youssef Chahine
PHOTOGRAPHY: Alvesi Orfanelli

Engineer Hamdi accidentally causes the breakdown of an emergency car, which results in a car crash and a girl named Nadia’s father dies. Nadia loses her sight and not long after Hamdi saves her from drowning on a beach. Soon they fall in love and get married, but Nadia still does not know that Hamdi caused her father’s death. They have a son together, Ashraf, but Nadia’s hatred towards her husband grows quickly…

b/w, 110 min

Egyptian Story

(Hadduta misrija, 1982)

Directed by: Youssef Chahine

Yehia is a filmmaker on his way to London for heart surgery. During the operation, his conscience appears (in fact himself as a young man) and starts to question his life. Through autobiographical sequences, the director ponders his life, work, home country and Egyptian revolution. This is the central film of Chahine’s Alexandria trilogy (the other two are Alexandria...why? and Alexandria again and again).

color, 115 min

Alexandria... Why?

(Eskanderia…Leh, Egypt, Alžir, 1979)

Directed by: Youssef Chahine

This is the first part of the famous Chahine’s autobiographical trilogy about Alexandria. The story takes place at the time of WW II when Rommel’s Nazi tanks approach Alexandria. In such uncertain times, eighteen year old Mohsen (the director’s alter-ego) is more interested in film and his acting career than the serious events around him. The city is about to explode and the national pride of the local people is awakened. We follow the destinies of several characters, among others a homosexual E...

color, 133'
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