Let’s talk about ‘Let’s Talk‘, Marianne Khoury’s exploration of mother/daughter relationships across generations. The film is of interest to us because we wondered if it would enhance our understanding of Chahine’s cinema; and it does! Marianne’s mother was Chahine’s sister, and the raw materials of her story finds echoes in Chahine’s in Dawn of a New Day (1964). Khoury also demonstrates how part of the family’s narrative is the origin and source of strands of Alexandria …. Why (1979) and An Egyptian Story (1982), so the accounts on this film give us an interesting spin on how Chahine treats the same material. We discuss the relationship between Iris and Marianne and Marianne and her own daughter Sara: is it self-reflexive enough? Is the film aware of the historical context in which those lives were lived and various decisions were made? We discuss cosmopolitism and language (a gift/ a burden?); the pleasure of the old photographs and how they evoke whole ways of life; we rant about BFI Player; José purrs when he sees footage of the EICTV film school in Cuba and at the footage in Havana. We recommend as a film that enhances our understanding of Chahine’s work and also a film that is a very personal reflection of mother/daughter relationships.
This podcast has been very lucky with its listeners. Hussein, not only provided us with a possibility of viewing the wonderful Dawn of a New Day, but produced the sub-titles necessary to understand it. We can’t thank him enough. I took the opportunity of talking to Hussein to ask him about things we as English-speaking viewers might not have understood. i.e an Egyptian perspective on the politics, the history, the significance of streets and buildings, the customs, the reputation of the actors in the film(Saifuddin Shawkat, Sanaa Gameel) and in Chahin’s other work (Mohsen Mohieddin) . All proved illuminating and enlightening and has certainly helped me understand Dawn of a New Day better. The conversation then continues onto Chahine as a figure in Egyptian cinema and culture and it was so interesting and informative that we will continue with that strand of conversation onto the next podcast.
Hussein has also kindly provided us with a link to two interesting stories:
Click on “the cairo tower” and “if lions could speak”. The first is the tower’s story, the other on the two lions on each side of the bridge that tarek crosses to meet Nayla. Hussein tells us, ‘They are of extreme importance in our history and almost became synonymous with downtown Cairo’.
Richard Layne and I return with a discussion of Dawn of a New Day, one of Chahine’s best. It echoes Sirk once more and has traces of An Affair to Remember and European Art Cinema like Antonioni’s La notte (1961) or Fellini’s La dolce vita (1960) whilst remaining very much a popular melodrama about love which is also a commentary on the state of the nation and its future. A very beautiful film and so accessible it’s a real pity it’s not part of the current Netflix package.
Richard and I discuss the very beautiful cinematography by Abdel Aziz Fahmy, and I’ve provided some image capture below to give you a taste of it:
We also discuss the extent to which Chahine deploys Sirk, his style is a kind of vernacular through which Chahine expresses himself whilst also offering a visual analysis which would not be made in prose criticism until a decade later.
Richard and I also discuss melodrama, and how the abandonment of the child lingers over the last part and offers a critique which would be absent had the focus been solely on the love affair. I include it below though sadly without sub-titles.
Richard has also provided the following links which some of you may want to pursue and which I will add to as i come across them: