Tag Archives: José Arroyo

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 29: Dawn of a New Day (Youssef Chahine, 1964)

 

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:

José Arroyo in Conversation with Fiona Cox on ‘It’s a Sin’

 

A discussion between friends, informed but informal, eager for exchange and hoping to contribute to a discussion, practically unedited. We probably missed many reference points but as soon as we stopped talking I realised the most obvious one is 120 BPM. You can nonetheless follow up discussions on that truly great film here:

A Conversation with Adam Carver on 120 BPM

and here:

Eavesdropping at the Movies 62 – 120 BPM

 

José Arroyo

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 28: Alexandria …. New York

 

An extended discussion of Youssef Chahine’s Alexandria, New York. ‘I love American cinema but America doesn’t love me’. Anyone who loves Chahine’s cinema will find this irresistible. A film made by someone who thinks and knows how to visualise and dramatise. We will see it again. The discussion can be listened to in the player below:

 

The Variety review Richard mentions can be found here: 

There’s also an interesting comment  from a 19 year old: Remembering Chahine a Personal Tribute.

Listeners might also be interesting in the clips below which are discussed in the podcast:

  1. Watching Cairo Station in New York.

2. Watching the Girls Go By (and whose gaze is it?).

A bisexual gaze?

A coming full circle:

New York, New York: An Arab Ending.

Whilst scrambling to collect these clips this morning, Richard and I realised that we were speaking in relation to different prints and his findings might be of interest to some of you. Richard writes:

Very interesting – I’m assuming the 2hr 3 version is an Egyptian edit, and the longer one(2h9m) is the French version. Differences I could find are:

Scene at the dance contest: conversation at the bar is shorter and the presentation of the prize is cut (not clear why this is). Young Yehia walks Ginger home after the dance – their final long kiss is cut.

Scene with the peeping landlady – ends when she appears at Yehia’s door. Entire sequence of him showering in her flat and her joining him is gone. (about 2 minutes cut here)

Later scene where Ginger comes to Yehia’s room and they are interrupted by the landlady – their kiss is cut.

End of this scene where Yehia and Ginger go to bed is also cut.

Sex scene in Yehia’s room when he is planning to leave – opening two minutes of this scene has gone, the shorter cut opens at the end of this sequence with them lying in bed together (so, interestingly, it is still OK to show them in bed) 70s scene with the older Yehia and Ginger in his hotel room – mostly intact but the end of this scene is cut.

José Arroyo

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 27 Silence…on tourne!

A discussion of Silence…on tourne focussing on the many characteristic flourishes we like so much in Chahine’s oeuvre but exploring also why they are less satisfying in this particular work. As we can see from Peter Broadshaw’s review here, the film was well reviewed on its original release but we found it less successfully realised than his other films (and this was also the case upon José’s first viewing and  the podcast he did on the film with Egyptian filmmaker Tara Shehata).

 

We reference the ending in the discussion, particularly that great tracking shot/edit from the filming of the musical number to the rejected gigolo watching the finished version at the cinema, and this can be seen below

José Arroyo

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 25: Destiny (1997)

The Youssef Chahine Podcast returns for a discussion of Destiny, with its images of book burnings, its themes of love and religious tolerance, its genre-bending mix of historical epic and musical extravaganza, and Chahine’s characteristic artfulness with the techne of filmmaking. This and other Chahine films are currently on Netflix in very good versions  with english sub-titles. .

 

The discussion brings takes on board points made by Laurie A. Fintke and Martin B. Schichtman in ‘Song, Dance and the Politics of Fanaticism: Youssef Chahine’s Destiny’  regarding the absence of Jews,  Jonathan Rosenbaum’s observation on musicals as well as a separate article also from The Chicago Tribune on the film:It’s as if Gene Kelly and Errol Flynn had joined forces for a movie bio of Aristotle.

. The podcast also comments on these clips:

 

the beginning:

Coming Out of Water:

A bath and a dance:

The End:

José Arroyo

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 23: C’es toi mon amour/ Inta Habibi

Richard Layne returns to discuss Youssef Chahine’s fascinating musical in the light of Tara Shehata’s great podcast on the film last week. We discuss the film’s achievements as a musical, the catchiness of the music, the appeal of Hind Rustum and Shadia, the woodenness of Farid El-Atrash, and  the influence of the screwball, particularly Preston Sturges’ The Palm Beach Story (1942). The podcast can be listened to below:

 

In the podcast, Richard discusses how C’es toi mon amour is the film that immediately precedes Cairo Station and Jamila the Algerian, and how it is worth comparing the two musical numbers set on a train in Cairo Station and in C’es toi mon amour in the light of themes of modernity, tradition, progress and personal freedom. You can see the clips below:

José Arroyo

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 22: Tara Shehata on C’est toi mon amour and Silence, on tourne!

The Youssef Chahine Podcast talks to Cairo filmmaker Tara Shehata about two Youssef Chahine musicals, C’es toi mon amour/ ENTA HABIBI (1957) and Silence, on tourne!/Skoot hansawwar (2001).

The podcast can be listened to here:

Hind Rostom and Farid al-Atrash in C’est toi mon amour:

Farid Al-Atrash and Shadia Yassmin:

Opening number of Silence, on tourne!:

Cinematographer Pierre Dupouey on filming with Chahine:

 

In response to a comment on the podcast, Saudi filmmaker Yaser Hammad, who featured in our of our recent podcasts, notes that: ‘That also happened in “An Egyptian Story” the AD on set in the first scene is Youssry Nassrallah. Who also became a director and Chahine produced his first films which are on Netflix as well. He had a number of ADs who later on became great directors. like Dawood Abdelsayed, Redwan Elkashif, Khaled Youssef and many more’.

José Arroyo

The Youssef Chahine Podcast Off-piste: In the Last Days of the City

A discussion of Tamer El Said’s In the Last Days of the City, currently screening as part of the program for Safar 2020, hosted by the Arab British Centre. The program of films can now be seen from home until the 20th of September and you can follow the link here: www.safarfilmfestival.co.uk/

In the podcast we discuss the film’s combination of documentary and fiction, It’s self-reflexiveness and it’s formal beauty. The film dramatises a dilemma of  a film within a film that the filmmaker can’t make cohere whilst avoiding that very same dilemma for itself by bringing in structural elements (the four friends, the increasing force of theocracy, the national football team’s wins, the search for an apartment, the loss of a relationship, the consolations of poetry in world characterised by alienation.

Jeff Reichert has written a lovely appreciation of the film in Film Comment which can be accessed here: 

The podcast can be listened to below:

There’s an interesting article that brings in Chahine into a discussion of the film here:

…and this other interesting article on cinema in Cairo that also mentions Tamer El Said and Chahine:

The following is a series of images discussed in the podcast:

 

These are just frame grabs from the film captured because they’re either so beautiful or o expressive or both.

The wonderful discussion that followed the screening can be viewed here below. I found Tamer El Said’s commentary very articulate and surprisingly moving:

 

 

José Arroyo

 

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 20: Women Without Men/ Nissae bila regal (1953)

 

A discussion of Nissae Bila Regal, Women Without Men, sometimes also known as Only Women, a Youssef Chahine film from 1953 with superb production values, musical numbers à la MGM and a plot that recalls Federico Garcîa Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba. We discuss many of the film’s themes that recur throughout Chahine’s later oeuvre: the influence of Hollywood cinema, melodrama, an exploration of modernisation, gender roles, a discussion of an idea of nation…..and much more.

We mention but did not discuss a lesbian reading of the film because we had not yet read Samar Habib’s excellent discussion of it in A Woman’s Closet is Her Castle: Lesbian Subtext and Corrective Pretext in Women Without Men’, where she also makes the claim that this film ‘gives us our first same-sex subtext in Egyptian cinematic history’. We simply didn’t get it but Habib’s article made us see.

Clips discussed:

First musical number:

 

Second Musical Number:

Rhythm, Tone, Music:

Third Musical Number:

 

https://www.samarhabib.net/single-post/2016/08/03/A-Woman%E2%80%99s-Closet-Is-Her-Castle-Lesbian-Subtext-and-Corrective-Pretext-in-Women-Without-Men?fbclid=IwAR0MrNMp5tuIeOF-KY1kbTJS7wWr3qqkRCPdwY1ZBvTLAbOGWpyKV43tD6g

 

Note the Marie Queeny Présente :

Chahine himself appears in the film, very young, on the left.

And here, looking down with the light shirt on the right:

 

Richard with his admirable research skills has found access to another terrific source on Arab Cinema: The Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern  Cinema ed. by Terri Ginsburg and Chris Lippard (2010). It´s very expensive to buy but full text can be read at archive org. by following the link on the title. : Terri Ginsberg, Chris Lippard Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts

José Arroyo

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 19 with José Arroyo and Yaser Hammad — The Significance of Chahine: A Young Filmmaker’s Perspective

Yaser Hammad is a young Saudi filmmaker as well as the screenwriter of Saudi Arabia’s first ever feature film to be released in Saudi Arabia,  Roll’em (2019) . Meeting Yaser here has been one of the great pleasures of doing the Chahine podcast. Not only is he, like us, a great admirer of Chahine but, unlike us, he’s got access to all the Arab writing on Chahine and is much more knowledgeable about actors, songs, the whole pop and social culture around Chahine. His additions, corrections, interventions have been so invaluable that I asked him to join us for this podcast so that our listeners may also benefit. This is a wide-ranging conversation on Chahine’s oeuvre that tries to bring an Arab perspective on the work and, more personally, an account of what Chahine’s work has meant to at least one young Arab filmmaker.

The podcast can be listened to below:

Below you’ll find the trailer for Roll ‘Em, in which Chahine makes an appearance:

Many thanks to Yaser for contributing to the podcast. Richard and I hope many more of you will join in on the many conversations to be had on the work of Youssef Chahine.

 

Yaser Hammad framed by posters of Chahine films.

José Arroyo

Ritrovato Lockdown 2020 – Day Seven

A discussion of the seventh and last day of Ritrovato’s digital programming in full: Imperfect Crimes, To Kill a Child/ Att döda ett barn (Gösta Werner, 1953), Aimé Césaire – Le masque des mots (Sarah Maldoror, 1987), Mia madre – Giuditta Rissone (Anna Masecchia/ Michela Zegna, 2020), Ich War Neunzehn/ I was Nineteen (Konrad Wolf, 1968), Sepa, nuestro señor de los Milagros/ Sepa, Our Lord of Miracles (Walter Saxer, 1987) and, last but not least, Fail Safe (Sidney Lumet, 1964).
We end the podcast with a discussion of the pros and cons of the digital experience of this year’s Ritrovato. We offer thanks and appreciation to the Ritrovato team for succeeding in putting on the festival in traditional form in Bologna itself, but also for taking the trouble to provide this digital offering for those of us who COVID prevented from going to Bologna as planned. A massive thanks. It was greatly appreciated.

The podcast can be listened to below:

Frinds of Ritrovato might also welcome seeing this goodbye from the festival itself:

David Cairns does a good summary of both’ Imperfect Crimes ‘compilations , which we don´t  really cover them in detail and you can access it here:

 

Friends might also be interested in this image capture from:

Images from Mia madre — Giuditta Rissone

Ich War Neunzhen

Sepa

Fail Safe

Friends might also be interested in this trailer for the Clooney version of Fail Safe:

José Arroyo

 

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 18: Baba Amin (Youssef Chahine, Egypt, 1950)

A discussion of Youssef Chahine’s very first feature, Baba Amin/ Papa Amin/ Daddy Amin. We discuss how the first half seems like the work of a different, less talented filmmaker, how the second half comes alive with charm, inventiveness, song; how Faten Hamama once more comes across as one of the great presences of world cinema; the connection to the Astaire/ Rogers Swing Time; its interesting mix of musical and melodrama, and how auteurism here results in an enhanced appreciation of the work.

I have made a little video demonstrating the influence of George Stevens’ Swing Time (1936) on Chahine:

Trailer for Podcast 1
Trailer for Podcast 2
Everybody Listen: the clip Richard discusses in the podcast
Egypt and Hollywood meet in the second musical number

The full film can be seen on you tube here:

José Arroyo

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 17: Cairo as Seen by Chahine/ Le Caire…raconté par Youssef Chahine

Cairo.as.Told.by.Youssef.Chahine.1991-SMz.00_00_57_08.Still002

An appreciation of Chahine’s short but great Cairo as Seen By Chahine. We discuss the film’s self-reflexiveness. How it’s aware of framing, composition, foreign expectations, relations and obligations concerning style and subject matter. How to film and evoke a city? How to do it with respect and love for its inhabitants? How to politely warn about dangers around, problems ahead and how to understand what drives desperate people there. We could have had a much longer discussion. But then, it would have been longer than the film.

The film was shot in Cairo between the 15th of January and the 23rd of February 1991.

Some of the clips discussed include the following:

A)Self-reflexiveness on framing and composition:

B) What foreigners expect to see in a film about Cairo:

c) Ruminations on a style that will please the critics:

D) Prayers and Show business:

E: Cinema and Film-going:

F: Trailer for Podcast:

and this one:

Richard has noticed a similarity/connection between the opening scene of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho:

and the scene where Chahine connects the whole city to people living together, to knowing and to love:

This ends too quickly but will give you an idea:

The film per se is available to see with e-s-t on Vimeo:

Samee3Lamee3, one of the very knowledgeable listeners of the podcast has illuminated the following points for us,  so very many thanks:

The film (within the film) is called “The Belly Dancer and the Politician” also the dialogue in the screened film is a very smart way for  Chahine to put the political element that portrays Egypt’s corrupt leaders

A few of them (the people in the film) are actual actors, like “Basem Samra” who did the sex scene. It was his first film and now he is a well established actor in Egypt. Only the shots of the streets and cafes were regular people.

His name is Khaled Youssef, he met “Joe” when he wanted to screen “The Sparrow” in his University. But the screening got them in trouble, they became friends and Joe convinced him that he would make a great director. So he mentored him and made him.

wrote “The other” and later films because he had political knowledge and many consider Khaled as the real director for “Chaos”. And Khaled has made many commercially successful films since then

José Arroyo

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 16: Le sixième jour/The Sixth Day (France/Egypt, 1986)

le sixieme jour

 

A discussion of Le sixième jour, which Chahine dedicates to Gene Kelly as a thank you for having filled his youth with joy. A rare Chahine film that is centred on a female star, female desire and female self-actualisation in a patriarchal culture. A hybrid of a woman’s film and musical. It’s set during a cholera pandemic, which resonates with the present, and also features a story of the unrequited love of a 26 year old street performer for an unhappy and much older housewife, one that still feels transgressive. Richard loved it very much. I less so. But we agree that it remains essential viewing for fans of Dalida and Youssef Chahine.

Those of you who don’t know of Dalida, the star, might be interested in this BBC radio documentary: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04tmx5c?fbclid=IwAR2L6lzcVgBUR75eh8i6PE7UuhZy-VPZRK9K0BIoCfB4HVFF809WGGWnWlE

Those of you who speak French, might be interested in this fascinating interview with Dalida for Radio France. Celebrated film critic Serge Daney is the interviewer: https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/les-nuits-de-france-culture/dalida-la-psychanalyse-ma-beaucoup-aidee-a-comprendre-le-personnage-de-saddika-dans-le-sixieme-jour-0?fbclid=IwAR33tJBDh9ViQuU2Szmf5kkf7M1_ME1VulrWHZwxrCqte-oVDK5iNfQ3vCg

 

I made this little trailer:

 

The passage from Ibrahim Fawal’s book, Youssef Chahine, discussed in the podcast:

IMG_1535

Chahine, Dalida, visual compositions:

Mohse Mohieddin and the monkey, a rhyme with the end of Return of the Prodigal Son:

Screenshot 2020-08-15 at 12.07.49

José Arroyo

 

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 14-B: The Emigrant, Part II

THE EMIGRANT TITLE

We return to Youssef Chahine’s The Emigrant (1994), this time with Richard Layne and I discussing the film — even better and more resonant on second viewing — but also responding to the previous podcast with Martin Stollery and to Martin’s excellent book on the film: Al_Muhajir_LEmigre_The_Emigrant_Youssef. The discussion can be listened to below:

 

Richard has also provided some very interesting links that get discussed in the podcast:

‘here is the 1961 Joseph film, pretty terrible from the looks of it but interesting to skim through to note the similarities

 

‘Here’s a version of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat screened for Israeli Television’:

 

‘This is a 1972 ITV broadcast which the end credits reveal to be a TV version of the Young Vic production with the same cast as the stage version.  Ian Charleson can be seen in his first screen role as one of the brothers. Better quality version here but it’s missing the first couple of minutes’:

 

 

‘Here is what I believe to be Mohsen Mohiedden’s film as star and director ,  Shabab ala kaf afreet:

 

Lastly, here is a trailer I made for this podcast:

José Arroyo

 

The Youssef Chahine Podcast with José Arroyo and Richard Layne, No. 13: Alexandria Again and Forever (Egypt, 1990)

Alexandria Now and Forever.poster

A discussion of Alexandria Again and Forever, the third film in what was initially called Youssef Chahine’s Alexandria Trilogy — including Alexandria… Why ? (1979) and An Egyptian Story (1982)) and later to expand into a quartet and include Alexandria….New York (2004) — focussing on the uses of Shakespeare, the influence of the American musical on Chahine, John Gielgud’s visit to perform Hamlet in Cairo, queer desire, the peplum film, Alexander, Anthony and Cleopatra, Art and Activism, the 1978 cinema artists’ strike in Egypt. The podcast can be listened to below:

The scenes  we refer to include this onset filming of a Hamlet soliloquy below:

 

the MGM musical à la Egyptian at the Berlin Film Festival below:

…which makes an interesting contrast with the Donald O’Connor solo visible below:

Listeners might find interesting this article by Margaret Litvin on

Hamlet's Arab Journey: Shakespeare's Prince and Nasser's Ghost.

and this excerpt from John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star Book by Jonathan Croall:

gielgud

Lastly, this is the scene from the strike that ends the film and becomes a musical number, bringing once more into play the personal and political, the fictional and the historical…from a fictionalised personal narrative and onto history:

 

Here is the article on Chahine, affectionately called The Professor, that made Richard aware that his nickname was Joe and that we had recorded this not so favourable discussion, a first, on the anniversary of his death.

 

…and finally, onHamlet’s hats.

 

José Arroyo

John Mercer and José Arroyo on Evan Purchell’s ‘Ask Any Buddy’

 

ask-any-buddy-2

A discussion of Evan Purchell’s great new film, Ask Any Buddy, just shown recently at Boston´s Wicked Queer Film Festival. The film is a compilation of clips from 126 gay porn films from the early 70s to the mid 80s that construct a narrative of different ways of life and structures of feeling of post-Stonewall/ pre-AIDS North American gay male cultures. It richly depict a cultural history of gay male life in relation to places and spaces as well as desires, ideas of self, relationships, romance and liberation. It’s terrific. The discussion revolves not only around the film itself but a discussion of history and culture sparked by the film´s images and narrative.

 

Evan Purchell has also started a new podcast, incredibly knowledgeable and yet fun and accessible that goes through each of the films, very detailed in its account of the people involved, the making of the individual film as well as the ways each circulated. It´s also a kind of queer cultural history taking porn as a springboard to history and discourse, really smart and lovely to hear (I love how one of the commentators refers to a hard-core sex scene as ‘adorable´)

José Arroyo