The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 30: Encounter With The Unknown (موعد مع المجهول), 1959


A discussion of Atef Salem’s 1959 Encounter with the Unknown, part of a cycle of films we will be covering as a way of setting a context for better understanding the work of Youssef Chahine. We discuss the very glamorous pairing of Omar Shariff and Samia Gamal, the superb mise-en-scène and visuals, what such skill brings to a rickety script and what it cannot, the relative lack of conceptual and thematic richness in comparison to Chahine and much else.

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here:

and on itunes here:


We also discuss how Shariff is often undressed and displayed for viewing pleasure, and how he, like Cary Grant, is the one that gets chased.:

Credits, a brief plot description, and a bio of director can be found


Richard has also provided the following links:

A BBC news story on Salem’s Death: 

A BBC clip of a Salem in ‘Six Decades of Egyptian Ciinema:

This is an article on Samia Gamal

Here’s another more detailed article with more about her film career. Its interesting that other than Sharif she’s one of the performers in Chahine’s films about which there’s the most information in English available


I’ve made a selection of clips so that you can follow the discussion:

Omar at the Beach: Encounter with the Unknown:

Circus Encounter With the Unknown:

Dance number in Encounter With the Unknown:

At the factory:

Another factory setting with very inventive editing Encounter With the Unknown:

In the river Encounter With the Unknown:

Dancing hands in Encounter With the Unknown:



José Arroyo

José Arroyo

2 thoughts on “The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 30: Encounter With The Unknown (موعد مع المجهول), 1959

  1. I am so glad you guys have decided to put Egyptian films on your regular menu. I haven’t seen this one before, first time I’ve ever heard of it actually. Not one of the famous or better known films for sure. There are thousands of Egyptian films out there but unfortunately many are lost forever, and very few are restored or have english subtitles. The 80s cinema is very special as it was the age of neorealism in Egyptian cinema with many young directors like Mohamed Khan, Atef el Tayeb, Ali abdel Khalik, Raafat el Mihy and many others setting new trends and going to places and issues that were hardly tackled before. Unfortunately very few films are available with english subtitles, but I will try to find some.

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