Tag Archives: Richard Layne

Hou Hsiao-hsien 8: Dust in the Wind (1986)

A beautiful film, a continuation of a cycle of autobiographical films (The Boys From Fengkuei, A Summer at Grandpa’s). We continue our discussion of framing, ellipses, cinema, letters, the country and the city, heartbreak and exploitation, and all those other formal and thematic elements that make Hou’s cinema so great. James Udden’s wonderful article (see below) has been very useful in the discussion:

Dust in the Wind: A Definite Hou/ New Cinema  Work’, The Cupola, 08-2014 (This book chapter is available at The Cupola: Scholarship at Gettysburg College: https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/idsfac/21)

 

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

 

José made a trailer:

 

Richard tells me: found this very good article from mubi’ https://mubi.com/notebook/posts/taiwan-stories-the-new-cinema-of-the-1980s

a good article although I disagree on some things https://seattlescreenscene.com/2015/03/22/dust-in-the-wind-hou-hsiao-hsien-1986/

 

— The beginnings of Josés Scholarly Bibliography on Hou which we will add to after every episode:

 

-Andres, Nigel, ‘A Camera Trained on Eternal Truths, Financial Times,  London: 07 June 2005: 13.

-Assayas, Olivier, Modern Time, Film Comment; Jan/Feb 2008; 44, p. 48

-Combs, Geoffrey, ‘ Dust in the Wind/ Lianlian Feng Chen’, Monthly Film Bulletin, April 1, 1990;57, 675, pg.111.

-Diffrient, David Scott ,’The Sandwich Man: History, episodicity and serial conditioning in a Taiwanese omnibus film’, Asian Cinema, vol 25, no., pp. 71-92,

-Cheshire, Godgrey, ‘Time span: The cinema of Hou Hsio-hsien’, Film Comment; Nov 1993;29, 6, pg. 56.

-Ellickson , Lee and Hou Hsiao-hsien, Preparing to Live in the Present; An interview with Hou Hsiao-hsien, Cineaste, Fall 2002, vol 27, no. 4 (Fall 2002), pp. 13-19

 

-Hastie, Amelie, ‘Watching Carefully: Hou Hsiao-Hsien and His Audience’, Film Quarterly, vol. 69, no. 3 (Spring 2016), pp. 72-78

-Kenigsberg, Ben . ‘Looking for an Introduction to Taiwan’s Greatest Filmmaker? Start Here’. New York Times (Online) , New York: New York Times Company. May 28, 2020.

-Lupke, Christopher (The Sinophone Cinea of Hou Shiao-hsien: Culture, Stuyle, Voice and Motion, amherst: Cambria Press.

-Rayns, Tony, Esprit de corp, Film Comment; Nov. Dec. 2007, 43, 6, p. 14

-Rayns, Tony, ‘Tongnian Wangshi (The Time To Live and The Tine to Die), Monthly Film Bulletin; Jun 1, 1988; 55, 653

-Stanbrook, Alan, The Worlds of Hou Hsiao-hsien’, Sight and Sound, Spring 1990; 59, 2, Rayns, Tony, ‘Auteur in the Making’, Sight and Sound; July 2016;26, 9; p. 98

-Sklar, Robert, ‘Hidden History, Modern Hedeonism; The films of Hou Hsia-hsien’,  Cineaste, Fall 2002; 27, 4, pg. 11.

-Udden, James, ‘Taiwanese Popular Cinema and the Strage Apprenticeship of Hou Hsiao-hsien, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Spring, 2003, vol. 15, no. Special Issue on Taiwan Film Spring, 2003), pp. 120-145.

-Udden, James, ‘Dust in the Wind: A Definite Hou/ New Cinema  Work’, The Cupola, 08-2014 (This book chapter is available at The Cupola: Scholarship at Gettysburg College: https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/idsfac/21)

-Xia Cai, Chapter 1: Hou Hisao-Hsien Films and Readings, The Ethics of Witness: Dailiness and History in Hou Hsia-hsien’s Films, Springer: Singapore, 2019, pp. 1-3

-Yueh-yu, Yeh. Post Script – Essays in Film and the Humanities; Commerce, Tex, Vol 20, Iss 2-3 (Winter 2000) 61-76.

Y-ip, June, ‘Taiwanese New Cinema’ in The Oxford History of World Cinema, Geoffrey Nowell-Smith ed. New York, United States, Oxford University Press, 1996)

 

-Wen, Tien-Hsiang (trans by GAN Sheuo Hui), ‘Hou Hsiao-Hsien: a standard for evaluating Taiwan’s cinema), Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, vol 9, number 2, 2008.

 

Thinking Aloud About Film: Hou Hsiao-hsien 3 – The Green, Green Grass of Home (1982)

 

In this podcast, Richard and I discuss how much we both like this film, an early one of Hou’s that we argue continues to be largely dismissed in accounts of his work. Here we admire what we see as his growth as a filmmaker: the increasing use of expressive long-takes, the filming from the inside of trains, the imaginative compositions, the handling of many people in the frame whilst still keeping dramatic focus, the deft control over various narrative threads. We notice that this is the third time in three fllms that we get scatalogical jokes but how now they’re not used as superficial toppers but instead evoke character and feeling as well as laughs. There are songs and there is romance but we discuss how there is also much more than that: a highly skilled and enjoyable work. The podcast can be listened to below:

 

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

Some of the shots or filmic practices we detected in the film are illustrated below:

THE IMAGINATIVE AND EXPRESSIVE FRAMINGS AND COMPOSITIONS:

Interesting, never quite head-on and always at a slight angle:

The centering of the children in their environment:

The elegant use of foregrounds in relation to backgrounds, carefully framed so as to enable us to see

A still from the magnificent shot where the child starts at the top of the stair on the bottom right of the frame, he disappears from view…and then rejoins the rest of the schoolchildren on the bottom left of the frame.

THE HANDLING OF CONSIDERABLE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WITHIN THE FRAME:

…always attentive to the relationship between foreground and background but also elegantly visualised such as below;

in this riverside frolic all of the protagonists, each with their own particular problem is on view, as is their relationship to each other:

note again the relationship between foreground and background here: the children are bearing witness:

note here he door ajar on the left hand of the frame, brining the outside in (as well as the reverse)

The poetic letter to mom:

Kaosiung Station is appearing in many of his films, the destination point to the city from the country:

the emphasis on the green and the rural:

 

and lastly, the brilliant last shots:

The following quotes, cited in the podcast, are from:

Xia Cai, Chapter 1: Hou Hisao-Hsien Films and Readings, The Ethics of Witness: Dailiness and History in Hou Hsia-hsien’s Films, Springer: Singapore, 2019, pp. 1-3

“Hou Hsiao-Hsien was born in Mei County, Guangdong province (China) in 1947.He and his family fled the Chinese Civil War to Taiwan in the following year. Houis a waishengren and his family is Hakka, the peripatetic Chinese minority whowere often persecuted by the Han majority in Taiwan before 1895. Hou, whose father died when he was young, grew up in southern Taiwan where, without a father,he wandered outside more than was the norm for children of the time. These self-guided wanderings, at a young age, brought him into contact with many of the realities of everyday life, especially the underground gangs, which proved to be definitive influences on his films.

In 1973, Hou started as a continuity person, but soon became an assistant director, and finally a screenwriter, first writing three works with his closest associate during the 1970s, the director Lai Cheng-ying. In Taiwan, directors rarely did the actual directing; it was the assistant directors who actually faced the day-to-day problems on the set, and they were in charge of keeping film stock use to a bare minimum. Hou is listed as the assistant director for at least 11 films in the 1970s, and that experience drove home for him the limitations of current filmmaking practices. All of these limiting practices – functional editing, functional lighting, compositional gimmicks, minimal shooting ratios, start and stop performance and so on – Hou would one day reject, arguing that these stifled creativity and the freedom of art, although for years

Hou would bear some responsibility for perpetuating these practices (it was his
livelihood after all). Yet as strange as it may seem, his experience with these practices would have a profound and lasting impact on him even after he would no longer rely on them in his work. He would learn many things from this largely negative experience, but two invaluable lessons stand out: the importance of lighting and the importance of performance, two areas today that form the cornerstones of his own aesthetic (see Udden 45).

1983 was a turning point for Hou, when The Boys from Fengkuei (1983) (also known as All the Youthful Days) won the “Best Film Award” in the Festival of the Three Continents. This is Hou’s beginning in the making of new films, as he said – after The Boys from Fengkuei, “I re-think film and consider it is another language” (8). Since then, he abandoned the pattern of early commercial films, and began a kind of move which was personally-oriented, using the narrative of daily life as the main language for his work. Hou’s process of new cinema can be divided into two stages occurring before and after “A City of Sadness” (1989). There are five films before 1989 – The Boys rom Fengkuei (1983), A Summer at Grandpa’s (1984), A Time to Live, A Time to Die (1985), Dust in the Wind (1986) and Daughter of the Nile (1987) While thestories are different, they have an internal consistency all about the growing experiences and memories of youth, as well as the collision between rural and urban life”.

 

The trailer for the podcast should evoke the flavour of the film:

Richard has provided links you might also find interesting and useful:

trailer for a Taiwanese TV showing of the film:

Full version of the Coca Cola song:

The Youssef Chahine Podcast: No. 36 – Al-Karnak (Ali Badr Kahn, Egypt, 1975)

Richard returns! We discuss the famous Al-Karnak (Karnak Café) directed byAli Badr Kahn in 1975. A political film, a critique of the previous regime, based on a novella by Naguib Mahfouz, and a ‘model of de-Nasserfication’. The film is pulpy, melodramatic, sensationalist, a box-office smash. A very interesting work to discuss in relation to Chahine’s The Sparrow (1972), which deals with similar subject matter but in a a very different way. Ali Badr Kahn and Mahfouz had previously collaborated with Chahine as well so the film is an interesting focal point to a whole series of issues that intersect with Chahine’s work.

 

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

 

José Arroyo

 

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 32: Youssef Chahine’s Cinema — An Egyptian Perspective, Part II

 

 


We continue our discussion with Hussein, to garner an Egyptian perspective on the career of Youssef Chahine to 1985. We touch on Son of he Nile/ Nile Boy (1951), The Blazing Sun,/ Struggle in the Valley (1954) ‘The Turn of the Decade’ films (Forever Love/ Forever Yours (1959), In Your Hands (1960), A Lover’s Call (1960), A Man in My Life (1961). We continue with all his major films and discuss how some phrases from them have become common parlance in Egyptian culture. We also touch on the complicated relationship with Mohsen Mohieddin Mohsen Mohieddin and we end with Dalida and The Sixth Day (1986). It’s a conversation still to be continued, and we will cover the last phase of his career in the next podcast.

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

Hussein also sent some wonderful photos which he describes as follows.

First photo (above) is a film poster from one of his first films, not sure which.

Second (below) is from Forever Love, the first of the four “turn of the decade” films.

 

Third is a photo  I took on my way home from work today of the building where Chahine lived most of his life till death, he lived in one of the three upper floors with the many windows. He actually shot many scenes there, in Egyptian Story (1982), Alexandria Again and Forever (1989), Cairo as seen by Chahine (1991)and Silence on Tourne (2001).

 

The last one is the plaque at the entrance of the building memorializing him. He used to live in the downtown Nile island of Zamalek, one of the more affluent neighborhoods of Cairo back in the days and still today.

José Arroyo

José Arroyo & Richard Layne on Filmfarsi (Ehsan Khoshbakht, 2019) Wales One World Festival

 

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

 

A discussion of Filmfarsi, a film by Ehsan Khoshbakht, on a mode of filmmaking extremely popular in Iran — urban gangster films, melodramas, musicals — set in urban working class milieus, that evoked and challenged the country’s vaunted leap in modernity. IAccording to Ehsan Khoshbakht, the film’s director, ‘Something rare, euphoric and mad was recorded on celluloid: the Iranian way of life after the second world war, with all its paradoxes. Even the sleaziest films became documents. If the majority of key Iranian arthouse films of the 1960s and 1970s were set in villages and rural areas (a tradition continued until after the revolution), filmfarsi was about the thriving cities, which were expanding blindly, thanks to petrodollars’.

t’s very different to the type of cinema Abbas Kiarostami was also doing in this period. It’s a cinema quickly banned after the ’79 revolution, and a cult on VHS. The filmmaker shows the wide range of filmmaking, its transnational perspective, its ritual and fetishistic post -79 consumption, and well evokes why it was so powerful, why it’s been banned and why it is so cherished.

He’s also offered a wonderful introduction in The Guardian, which can be found here.

It begins with: ‘Shortly after the 1979 Iranian revolution, the country’s national newspapers published a joint subpoena, unique in film history. All the key stars of “filmfarsi” – a form of popular cinema that embodied the aspirations and illusions of a modernising society – were summoned to the revolutionary court. The careers of hundreds of actors and directors ended overnight. Unlike the Hollywood blacklisting of the McCarthy era, there was not even the opportunity for a mock hearing. The cinema, seen as emblematic of corruption, “westoxification” and the decadence of the ousted Pahlavi regime, was consigned to oblivion.

 

Those of you interested in watching the film can follow up bookings here. Many thanks to Wales One World for their superb programme and for the free screenings.

You can see Ehsan Khoshbakht speak to David Gillam on Filmfarsi here:

 

 

José Arroyo

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

 

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

 

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:

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 podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

 

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).

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

 

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 podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

 

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:

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

 

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:

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

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:

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

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. 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:

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

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

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546

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

 

Ritrovato Lockdown 2020 – Day 2

From one o f he Bologna shorts screened today and filmed in Ferrantecolor

 

We discuss the main features of Day 2 of Cinema Ritrovato’s digital offerings — Ladies Should Listen (Frank Tuttle, 1934) , Donne e Soldati / Women and Soldiers (d: Luigi Malerba, Antonio Marchi, co-written by Marco Ferreri) , Young Mr. Lincoln (John Ford, 1939) — as well as some of the Bologna shorts. We wonder about the Henry Fonda selections and what we can learn from the Frank Tuttle/ Stuart Heisler pairings in the program available digitally. We also discuss some of the failures in access and how it affected our viewing.

 

The amazing footage of Armenia can be found here just after the 4 minute point:

José Arroyo

Here are some images from the Bologna shorts:

From Donne e soldati:

Ritrovato Lockdown 2020 Day One

A discussion of the first day’s digital programming for 2020’s Cinema Ritrovato. The films discussed include Grape of Wrath, Daisy Kenyon, The Spider’s Stratagem, documentaries on Maria Blaseti, The Taviani Brothers, Babylon in Hollywood and two silent short film: Tontolino and The New Made is Too Much of a Flirt. The podcast can be listened to below:

Here are some random but beautiful images of the day’s programme, captured haphazardly:

Tontolino
Maria Blaseti

Contrast the restored image above to the version available on youtube below:

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