OPENING FILM

Alexandria Why / Iskindereya Leh
Director: Youssef Chahine
Release Date: 1978
Running Time: 120min
Language: Arabic
Subtitles: English

Alexandria, Why? Marked a radical, newly introspective turn in Chahine’s active career, a sharp departure from his Fifties musicals and melodramas and his later epics and political films. The first of a semi-autobiographical tetralogy, entitled “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” Alexandria, Why? focuses on a precocious adolescent whose dreams and colorful attempts to become an actor unfold against the vivid backdrop of Alexandria during World War II. A rich cast inspires Chahine’s young thespian hero with a wealth of dramatic sub-plots – at turns hilarious and touching – about wartime life. The autobiographical nature and nostalgic flavour of Alexandria, Why? make it one of Chahine’s most accessible works, a charming and entertaining film that also delivers a potently subversive and impassioned anti-war message. 

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