The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 26: The Ring Seller/ Biya el-Khawatim

A discussion of one of Youssef Chahine’s most enjoyable films, The Ring Seller/ Biya el-Khawatim. It can be seen on youtube via the link above. The work was originally written for the stage by Assi and Mansour Rahbani, the latter, the husband of The Ring Seller’s star, Fairuz.  We discuss the film in relation to Chahine’s oeuvre, to national and transnational cultures, to the musical genre in relation to theatrical operetta and zarzuela but also in relation to films like Powell/Pressburger’s Oh…. Rosalinda! and Arthur Freed musicals. The podcast can be listened to below.

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here:

and on itunes here:

I have included some of the images discussed in the podcast below:


I also enclose this musical number to illustrate the bit of the discussion about the handling of crowds and dancing.


Netflix offers this little film which gives a flavour of the oeuvre: ‘This video is a tribute to the work of one of the greatest international directors, whose films have won many awards inside and outside the country .. Youssef Chahine. This is a compilation of some of the immortal scenes from his films, “Al-Masir, An Egyptian Hadota, Alexandria Leh, Alexandria Violin and Violin, Al-Muhajir and Conflict in El-Mina”, All of them are now showing on Netflix. (The preceding is a google translation which does not quite get the titles right).

This is the other Fairuz / Rahbani brothers film. Unfortunately it’s muted at points, maybe music copyright problems. But seems much more realistic than the Chahine one


José Arroyo

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