Tag Archives: The Alexandria Trilogy

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 Pocast with José Arroyo and Richard Layne, No. 12: An Egyptian Story (Youssef Chahine, 1982)

Egyptian Story with Text

A discussion of Youssef Chahine’s An Egyptian Story, the second part of his Alexandria Trilogy, and one which is self-reflexive on his career thus far, highlighting Son of the Nile (1951) Cairo Station (1958), Jamila, The Algerian (1958), Saladin The Victorious (1963), Un jour le nil/ People and the Nile (1964/1968), The Sparrow (1973) and other of his films. We trace recurring patterns: the type of mise-en-scène, the use of Shakespeare, the references to American musicals, the deployment of a repertory company of actors, a homosexual element, a social critique matched by an auto-critique — it’s a film in which Chahine puts himself on trial — and a more inventive, imaginative and personal dramatisation that interestingly deploys expressionist and surrealist devices. The podcast can be listened to below.

 

 

I enclose clips of some of the scenes discussed in the podcast: Below the marvellous scene with the mother which illustrates how Chahine critiques patriarchal power whilst also demonstrating how women collaborate in a cycle of rape, which they not only experience themselves but commit their daughters to, and which the film critiques on one level and extends sympathy to on another. Brilliant and complex.

Glamorous newsreel footage in combination with a dramatisation of Chahine’s first tie at Cannes to show Son of the Nile

A dramatisation of how Chahine sold his producer on the idea of Cairo Station:

 

The filming of Cairo Station, interesting to see in relation to the same scene in the film itself:

Showing Jamila, The Algerian at the Moscow Film Festival, meeting Henri Langlois of the Cinémathèque Française, being fêted with Magda, and already alluding to the USSR/Egyptian collaboration that would become Un jour le nil

The editing of Saladin interrupted by the death of Chahine’s father.

A moment of auto-critique in An Egyptian Story

The second time Chahine shows Nasser’s resignation in his films, this tie interspersed with footage from The Sparrow:

An example of some expressionist devices and a Surrealist attitude that we see in An Egyptian Story.

Finally a gif:

the-egyptian

….

and a trailer:

 

and some interesting images:

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Those of you interested in pursuing this further might want to look at this very interesting piece by Jaylan Salah,

The Male Gaze in Arab Cinema: Youssef Chahine between Voyeuristic Pleasure and Male Exhibitionism

José Arroyo