Winner of the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival, this acclaimed first installment in Youssef Chahine’s groundbreaking Alexandria quartet takes place between 1942—as Brits and Arabs join forces against advancing German troops—and 1945. Against this tumultuous backdrop, Chahine pieces together a vivacious panorama of upper class life in the titular Mediterranean port city: Yehia, standing in for Chahine, is obsessed with MGM musicals and dreams of studying acting in the USA; a beautiful Jewish socialite must decide between fleeing with her father or staying with her Arab lover; a wealthy aristocrat (Egyptian cinema’s first openly gay character) becomes enamored with a young British soldier. Chahine masterfully weaves these interrelated storylines together to create a magnificent historical and autobiographical tapestry. Chahine directed nearly forty films in a career that began in1950s and lasted until his death in 2008, along the way garnering acclaim across Europe and even giving Omar Sharif his big-screen break. “[A] sprawling epic…Chahine believed less was never enough. Embracing a splashy masala of styles, he threw everything—ideas, people, whole nations and regions—up in the air for the viewers to try to catch. And beyond his movies’ entertainment value, it wouldn’t hurt for American to see the visions of a cosmopolitan filmmaker from the Arab world, who speaks for himself but reflects the dreams and fears of a people whose popular culture is nearly unknown in the U.S.”—Richard Corliss, Time.
Bing Theater | $10 general admission. $7 museum members, seniors (62+), students with valid ID | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.