Youssef Chahine Film Festival for short and documentary films is opening Monday.
Director Tony Nabih will chair the festival, whereat there will be films on display as of tomorrow including ‘Amateur’.
The film deals with an Egyptian family that lives a tranquil life. As soon as one of the family members dies, mother of Youssef Chahine, called ‘Eman’ and comes to live in the next door, something goes wrong with the protagonist. And things go upside down.
A glimpse into his life, career
Chahine was born in Alexandria, Egypt to a Melkite Catholic Lebanese family.His father was an attorney from Zahle, Lebanon.
At home, the Chahine’s spoke five languages, which was common in cosmopolitan Alexandria at the time.
Fascinated by the performing arts from an early age, young Chahine began to create shows at home for his family.
Chahine began his education at a Frères’ school Collège Saint Marc. Growing up, he attended Alexandria’s elite Victoria College. In 1946، Chahine convinced his parents to let him travel to Hollywood to study acting, where he attended the Pasadena Playhouse outside Los Angeles, California.
Chahine’s early films in Egypt included Raging Sky (1953), begun while Farouk was still King and dealing with a peasant farmer’s challenge to a feudal landlord.
But the first truly indicative film of his style and preoccupations was Bab al-Hadid, in 1958.
In 1963, Chahine made El Nasser Salah Ed-Din (Saladin, The Victorious), an epic, three-hour film in CinemaScope named after the 12th-century Ayyubid sultan who, as the film begins, is preparing to liberate Jerusalem from its Crusaders.
In 1971, he was a panelist at the 7th Moscow International Film Festival.
And in 1992, he started writing The Emigrant. The film he hailed as dream project went to shoot in 1994.
The globally renowned director had a prolific filmography that included without limitation Baba Amin, El Mohareg el Kebyr (the Big Clown), Bab al-Hadid (The Iron Gate), Iskandariyah… lih? (Alexandria…Why?) and Al-Akher (the Other).