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Movie Critic Article: France Commemorates Chahine


Article by Badreldin H. Ali 

I was delighted by the news concerning the late but ever-present Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine.
I have seen most of Chahine's movies and I value and respect them and believe that his significant contribution to enriching the domain of arts in general and cinema in particular  was behind the decision of the Palais du Cinéma in Paris to refurbish and rename one of its main halls after his name.
Luxor cinema, in final months of restoration, Paris November 2012 (Photo: Ati Metwaly)


Misr International Films a company that was founded by the late filmmaker reiterated in its press statement the series of international recognition won by Chahine who was one of the most prominent film directors in Egypt and the winner of several international awards. Several streets in different cities around the globe were named after Chahine. The Palais du Cinema, one of the cinema complexes in Paris which was built in 1921 and closed in 1983 for renovations, is scheduled to re-open on April 17 this year with a screening of "Destiny", a Youssef Chanine movie produced in 1997 which depicts some aspects of the life of the Andalusian Muslim thinker Ibn Rushd (1126 - 1198).

This ancient Parisian film complex was designed in Pharaonic style with a large facade similar to those in the temples of Luxor in southern Egypt. The facade is decorated with Pharaonic drawings such as those on the walls of ancient Egyptian temples. The famous French architect Phillipe Pumain  was entrusted to renew and revive the complex at a cost of 29 million euros. Using glass work, mosaic, decorations and drawings, the historic building in the heart of the French capital was brought back to life. On the sidelines of the opening ceremony, there will be held a new exhibition featuring pictures of the ancient city of Luxor. The exhibition will run until May 25 next year.

Chahine's total filmography includes 37 feature films and five short ones. He won a number of international awards, ending with the Golden Jubilee Award at Cannes International Film Festival in 1997 for his lifetime contribution to cinema. In 2006, France granted Chahine the rank of "officer" in its Committee of Honor.



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