The Youssef Chahine PodcastNo. 9, A return to a later version of Un jour, le nil: People of the Nile (1972)


After our podcast of Un jour, Le Nile, Richard Layne discovered the 1972 recut and partly remade version of the film on You Tube, now called People of the Nile,  and we decided to see it, explore its differences from the 1968 version and the director’s cut and see how that might have affected its narrative, its politics and the way that it represents sexuality. What is a filmmaker against the combined diplomatic and internal exigencies of the USSR and Egypt?

The re-cut version can be seen below, in bad quality, and without sub-titles….



but nonetheless enable us, Richard in particular.  to offer the completely geektastick commentary that comes out of the discussion in the podcast at the very top of this post.

We have included clips that are referenced in the podcast below:

the differences in the filming of the section in the dam but with new Egyptian characters added in and this and this time switching things around so that it is Barack who jumps in after the Russian character. The new characters are the senior Russian engineer’s wife and daughter, and her Doctor boyfriend. Also note the more traditional transition into a flashback at the end.



We see Anatole and Barack but it is Barack who helps along the Russian character (above) and takes him to the doctor (below).

 The Doctor they see is the daughter’s boyfriend – there’s more integration between the different plot strands throughout
this version.

…and we see another scene not in the earlier version of them eating figs, which now explains the fig-giving scene in the previous version where they touch hands. At the end of the fig scene, the daughter’s other boyfriend (the guy posing as a worker from the first film) appears.

Instead of the Russian engineer meeting his Egyptian colleague in his crowded flat (plus rabbit), they have dinner together with their wives as equals. Also they are joined by the Doctor from the earlier clips – everyone knows each other in this version!


Barrak petitions management for Nikolai to stay. Previously the senior Russian didn’t understand Barrak, and didn’t get involved. Here, he speaks to him and this may be what leads Barrak to visit Nikolai. Note in this version of the film, Egyptian and Russian characters seem to be speaking Arabic throughout. The fig scene is intact, but the sequence cuts away earlier before the crowd joins them.


The Russian executive has a flashback to his childhood – a different one from his flashback in the first version (which doesn’t appear in this version). As this was a Russian sequence, it was presumably filmed for the original version and not used. Note the transition out of the flashback is along the lines of the transitions in the earlier version, but the present day scene it transitions to is (I believe) newly filmed for the new version.





Picture from second film: 

A major Richard Layne discovery,  as the still they use on the Bologna website is from the second version, not the director’s cut !!


Screenshot 2020-07-12 at 19.22.05

Richard Layne and José Arroyo

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