Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why Was Chahine A Special Person?

I have seen only 5 or 6 of Yousef Chahine's movies, but I can clearly say he was a special person in the Arab and Egyptian cinema for several reasons:

1- He made some Egyptian movies that were not boring.

2- With very few other Egyptian directors and actors, he made a name for Egypt in international cinema. The french president sent a letter of condolence for his death.

3- He was fearless. He was threatened by many Islamic movements in the early 1990s and you can tell how brutal they were but that made him more determined to make more movies. He wasn't a supporter of his government either. Such combo of enemies could have destroyed his career but it obviously did not.

4- He was 82 and still making movies.

I can't say a lot about him since I'm not a big fan of Egyptian movies, but maybe I'll go back and watch some of his good ones like Al-Ard in 1969 and Askenderiyyah Laih in 1978. In conclusion, I can say that people like him give hope that Arab haves some brilliant men and women among them who are willing to work despite all obstacles and till they breathe their last breath.


Joe said...

Truth is...the painful truth is we continue to suffer from Post-colonialist Inferiority Complex PIC. Meaning, when France tells us Yousef Chahine is a great filmmaker, and gives him a few Cannes screenings and awards, we tend not to debate the titles which they bestow upon the select few among us. yes, it's also called the 7'awaja complex. the French and the Americans make this selection in key fields such as politics, military, and culture. They support those individuals even if what they produce is not average or even even crap. But if God says Mohammad and Jesus are profits, who are we to question this wisdome. Chahine is not the best Arab filmmaker out there. But allah yerhamu. so keep an eye on Amin Matalqa, he is Uncle Sam's Axis of Moderates' filmmaker of choice.

Hareega said...

Joe.. you may be a better film critic than I am, but the reasons I listed are the ones why I consider Chahine to be an exceptional director and most film directors in the Arab world do not meet one or two of these criteria.
Chahine was a big movie director way before Uncle Sam admired him (they actually were somewhat pissed of him for a segment he presented about 9/11). There isn't anything in his movies that looks down on our nation or culture.

I don't know what brought Amin Matalqa to this conversation but I think his movie was a great one. I don't know why we get paranoid from any Arab or Jordanian whenever they get recognized by the international community and start claiming that he doesn't represent us. These people need our support especially when they show hard work and dedication to what they're doing like Amin did. After all his movie talked about very basic chronic crippling Jordanian problems.

Ali said...

I believe Shaheen brought the Egyptian movie industry to the International scene, and he did a great job with his weired controversal movies. And yes he wasn't a refelction of the Egyptian government. He was like the Syrian Akkad who was a masterpiece as well. Too bad we lost both. Im sure we have many good talents in the Arab world that is waiting to be discovered