Missed a few screenings today thanks to a stomach bug, but that provided a chance to watch some Youssef Chahine on video.
Alexandria…Why? (Chahine, 1978). Kaleidescopic look at life in Egypt during World War II, a film that refuses to attempt verisimilitude (all those Seventies haircuts and lapels) in favor of pastiche: musical numbers, political broadsides, newsreels. Chahine’s style ranges from crude to supple, and the shots of the stage productions thrillingly capture backstage buzz as few movies have. He saves the final pie in the face for the very last shot.
An Egyptian Story (Chahine, 1982). During his bypass surgery, a film director fantasizes being on trial for his life, in a movie that borrows wildly from All That Jazz and A Matter of Life and Death, Fellini and Woody Allen. (And not just the obvious Allen either, but Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex.)