Youssef Gabriel Chahine was born on January 25, 1926 in Alexandria, Egypt and died on July 27, 2008 in Cairo. He started studying at a frères' school, and then turned to English College until High School Certificate. After a year at the Alexandria University, where he mostly cared about theatre, he moved to the United States. At the Pasadena Play House, near Los Angeles, he took courses on film and dramatic arts for two years. It has been the operator Alvise Orfanelli “pioneer in Egyptian cinema” that opened the way for production to Chahine.

Chahine directed his first feature film, “Baba Amine”, in 1950. The following year, his feature film “Nil Boy” was invited to the Cannes Film Festival. In 1958, he directed and acted in one of his masterpieces: “The Iron Gate”.

After working with writer Abdel-Rahman Charkawi on « Jamila, the Algerian» (1958), Chahine adapted for the screen his novel « The Land » in 1969. In 1973, with “The Sparrow”, he showed his political opinions after the Six Day War with Israel.  
In 1979, Chahine won a Silver Bear and the Grand Jury Prize as well at the Berlin Film Festival for “Alexandria... Why?” (1978), the first part of what would become an autobiographic series, completed with “An Egyptian Story” (1982), “Alexandria Again and Forever” (1989) and “Alexandria… New York” (2004). In 1984, “Adieu Bonaparte”, his first French coproduction, is presented in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

In 1986, the famous singer Dalida was the protagonist of “The Sixth Day” in the role of a poor Egyptian woman. Jacques Lassalle approached him to stage a piece of his choice for the Comédie-Française: Chahine chose to adapt Albert Camus’ “Caligula”, which proved hugely successful. In 1994, Chahine shot “The Emigrant”, a story inspired by the Biblical character of Joseph, son of Jacob. This had been a dream-project since the 50’s. In 1997, as his 33rd film “Destiny” is presented at the Cannes Film Festival, Chahine is awarded by the “Cinquentenaire Prize” for his whole work. After shooting the humanist film “The Other” in 1998 and the musical “Silence… We’re Rolling” in 2004, Chahine.directed in 2007 his thirty-eighth and last feature film, “This Is Chaos”.

Partial filmography

1950   BABA AMIN (Father Amine)
1951   IBN EL NIL ( Nil Boy)
1952   AL MUHARRIJ AL-KABIR (Le grand bouffon)
           SAYEDET EL KITAR ( Lady on the Train)
1953   NISSAA BILA RIGAL (Femmes sans hommes)
1956   SERAA FIL MINA ( Struggle on the Pier) *
           WADAAT HOBBAK (Farewell to Your Love)
1958   BAB EL HADID (The Iron Gate)
          JEMILA (Jamila, the Algerian)
1959   HOB ILAL ABAD (A toi pour toujours)
1960   BEIN EIDIK (Entre tes mains)
1961   NIDAA EL OCHAK ( A Lover’s Call)
          RAGOL FI HAYATY (Un homme dans ma vie)
1964   FAGR YOM GUEDID (L'aube d'un jour nouveau)
1965   BAYAA EL KHAWATEM ( Auliban, the Seller of Jokes)
1966   RIMAL MIN DAHAB (Les sables d'or)
1968   ANNAS WAL NIL (Those People of the Nile)
1969   EL ARD (The Land
1970   EL IKHETIYAR (Le choix) *
1973   AL OSFOUR ( The Sparrow) *
1976   AWDET EL IBN EL DAL (Le retour de l'enfant prodigue) *
1978   ISKINDEREYA LEH ( Alexandria... Why?) *
1982   HADOUTA MISRIYA ( An Egyptian Story) *
1984   AL WEDAA YA BONAPARTE (Adieu Bonaparte)
1986   AL YOM EL SADES ( The Sixth Day) *
1989   ISKENDEREYA KAMAN WE KAMAN (Alexandria Again and Forever) *
1994   AL MOHAGER (The Emigant) *
1997   AL MASSIR ( Destiny) *
1998   KOLAHA KHATOUAH (Ce n’est qu’un pas)
1999   AL AKHAR ( The Other) *
2001   SOUKOUT… HA NESAWAR ( Silence… We’re Rolling) *
2004   ISKENDEREYA… NEW YORK (Alexandrie…New York) *
2007   HEYA FAWDA (This Is Chaos)

* Also screenwriter


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