Youssef Chahine

Youssef Chahine

Birthday: January 25, 1926
Born Place: Alexandria, Egypt
Birth Name: Gabriel Youssef Chahine


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Youssef Chahine (born in Alexandria, Egypt, 1926) started studying in a friars’ school, and then turned to English College until the High School Certificate. After one year in the University of Alexandria, he moved to the U.S. and spent two years at the Pasadena Play House, taking courses on film and dramatic arts. After coming back to Egypt, cinematographer Alevise Orfanelli helped him into the film business. His film debut was Baba Amin (1950): one year later, with Son of the Nile (1952) he was first invited to the Cannes Film festival. In 1970, he was awarded a Golden Tanit at the Carthage Festival. With Le moineau (1973), he directed the first Egypt-Algeria co-production. He won a Silver Bear in Berlin for Iskanderija… lih? (1979), the first installment in what proved to be an autobiographic trilogy, completed with _adduta misrija (1982)_ and Iskanderija, kaman oue kaman (1989).

In 1992, Jacques Lassalle proposed him to stage a piece of his choice for Comédie Française: Chahine chose to adapt Albert Camus’ “Caligula,” which proved hugely successful. The same year he started writing Al-mohager (1994), a story inspired by the Biblical character of Joseph, son of Jacob. This had long been a dream-project, and he finally got to shoot it in 1994. In 1997, 46 years and 5 invitations later, he was again selected Hors Competition in Cannes with Destiny (1997).

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