The 25th of January is a special day in the heart of every movie-lover in the entire Arab world, but especially in Egypt, as it marks the birthday of one of the most prominent symbols of Arab cinema, the late Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine.
Chahine put Egypt on the map of world cinema. Through his films, he portrayed thoughts that were provocative, daring, and often critical of society and politics alike.
On this day, we take a look at one of his treasures, a short documentary film called ‘Cairo… as told by Youssef Chahine’. Produced in 1991, the 23-minute movie sheds light on the visionary’s home town and the problems that were faced by the Egyptians at the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s. It discusses unemployment, extremism, poverty, pollution, and a myriad of other topics that remain relevant until today.
Chahine received prestigious international awards throughout his career, including the Cannes Film Festival’s 50th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
Former French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, described Chahine as “very attached to his Egypt but open to the universe”, and we think that was a very accurate description of one of the most independent Egyptian filmmakers that the Arab cinema has seen.