Gallivant

Andrew Kotting’s touching, personal 1997 documentary about his 6,000-mile journey along the coasts of England, Wales, and Scotland with his 90-year-old grandmother and his 7-year-old daughter, who suffers from the serious neurological disease Joubert’s syndrome. Far from depressing and often funny, this has as many quirky aspects as the films of Ross McElwee and manages to cover an interesting range of topics as well. (JR)

Published on 01 Jul 1999 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Alexandria, Again And Always

The dazzling 1990 conclusion of Egyptian director Youssef Chahine’s autobiographical Alexandria trilogy can be seen independently of the other two features; its writer-director stars as a famous filmmaker very much like himself, happily married but also smitten first with one of his young actors and then with a young actress he meets (Yousra). Yousra played Chahine’s wife in the second part of the trilogy, An Egyptian Story (1982), and the young actor in this film is based on Mohsen Mohiedine, who played Chahine as a young man in Alexandria, Why? Filmed in sumptuous color, this is not only one of the most passionate celebrations of bisexuality ever filmed, it’s also one of the funniest; Chahine’s tap-dance duet with his lead actor on a movie set is priceless. (JR)

Published on 01 Jul 1999 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Alexandria, Why?

This 1978 film, the first feature in Egyptian director Youssef Chahine’s fascinating and complex autobiographical trilogy about Alexandria, won the Silver Bear at the Berlin film festival. It’s set during World War II, when Rommel’s army is approaching the city and a youth who serves as a stand-in for Chahine (Mohsen Mohiedine) is undergoing crises of national identity, sexuality, and vocation. A terrific movie in many respects, though perhaps less of a revelation than the trilogy’s 1990 conclusion, Alexandria, Again and Always. (JR)

Published on 01 Jul 1999 in Featured Texts, by admin

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The Land

Virtually all the features of Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine are ambitious, but this energetic 1969 saga in color, about farmworkers in a village on the Nile delta during the 30s, is a particular watershed. Based on a novel by Abderrahmane Cherkaoui that’s said to be well-known in Arab countries, it combines social criticism with entertainment and melodrama with lyricism as flamboyantly as Chahine’s later Destiny, though in this case his models of epic filmmaking tend to be Soviet more than Hollywood. Recommended. (JR)

Published on 01 Jul 1999 in Featured Texts, by admin

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