Egyptian film-maker Youssef Chahine ( يوسف شاهين (1926-2008 is surely one of the impressive directors from the Middle-East.
I remember my father telling me a lot about his most famous pictures such as “Al-Massir” (Destiny, 1997), Wadaaan Bonapart (Adieu Bonapart, 1985) and of course, the most elusive of them all “Al-Usfur العصفور (The Sparrow, 1972).
I had the wonderful opportunity to watch the latter on the big screen at a film festival in the region and I loved it.
The backdrop is the famous Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel back in 1967, for the story of young policeman (Salah Kabil) trying to unearth a huge goverment corruption while dealing with problems at home. Chahine manages to literally film Egyptian society suffocating with an awesome panorama at the ghettos seen from afar, strongly resembling cemeteries. Narration-wise, he opts for something more intriguing than the Point A to Point B passage through several stream-of-consciousness cuts, seemingly out of nowhere, but he does it beautifully. The work is compelling on all levels.
Here’s a portrait of Youssef Chahine by Laurence Surde (47×47 cm) and the poster of “The Sparrow”. I am not the author of these images. All rights go to the artist Laurence Surde for the portrait and whoever executed the film poster.