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The Land (Al Ard) (1969)

Youssef Chahine, Egypt

Youssef Chahine’s adaptation of Marxist writer Abd al-Rahman al-Sharqawi’s 1953 novel, set in the 1930s, is an epic chronicle of life in a rural Egyptian village. The main plot concerns the unsuccessful attempts of the villagers to retain their access to water. Told that they can only irrigate their land a few days a month, several of the villagers are arrested for overwatering. Although the outside threat originally seems to unite the villagers, divisions resurface, and one of them is bought off by the local bey, representative of the ruling class in general.

Duration
129 minutes
Language
OV Arabic
Subtitles
German, French, English
Video Quality
1080p
Available in
Switzerland, Austria
Youssef Chahine
with bonus
Cairo Station (1958)
Youssef Chahine
Egypt
73′
Bonus:
Melodrama and thriller, social drama and love story in one, the masterly feature film by the Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, made in 1958, is located entirely on the station grounds. The old Madbouli is the owner of a kiosk at Cairo's main railway station. One day he finds a half-starved, poor man at the edge of the tracks. Madbouli feels sorry for the sad-looking, limping farmer Kenaoui and hires him as a flying newspaper salesman. At work, Kenaoui meets the beautiful Hanouma every day, who also earns her living at the station by supplying travellers with lemonade drinks. Kenaoui falls for the cheerful woman and makes it his goal to marry her. Lonely and in obsessive longing, he cuts out lightly dressed women from magazines in his hut at the edge of the train station in the evening, hanging his walls with them. Although he knows that Hanouma is already promised to the suitcase porter and trade unionist Abou Serih, one day he reveals his feelings to her and proposes to her. Her rejection, soaked with mockery and ridicule, drives Kenawi further into a rage-drenched obsession for Hanuma. Restored version.
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Al asfour - The Sparrow (1972)
Youssef Chahine
Egypt
102′
The Sparrow fascinates with its parallel strands of action. The various ways of encountering a criminal trader, namely by a police officer and a journalist, are ultimately only traces that lead to the tip of an iceberg: the corruption of Egyptian society on the eve of the Six-Day War.
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The Return of the Prodigal Son (1976)
Youssef Chahine
Egypt
124′
In this Andre Gide adaptation, an activist is released after many years in prison and returns home, shaking up established relationships among his family members at the farm governed by his strict father. Demonstrating Chahine’s eclecticism, this is an elegant melodrama, exuberant musical, layered allegory, and profound portrait of personal and political disillusionment.
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