Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yusif Shaheen passes away

The burial ceremony took place on July 29, at the Birmasis Church in Cairo for the late Egyptian legend director Yusif Shahin. Hundreds of celebrities and top figures in Arab cinema were among the over 1,500

Shaheen’s death came after a long battle with several illnesses the last placing him in a coma for several weeks leading to his transportation to Paris and be admitted at the American hospital in Paris to undergo a brain surgery.

Dr. Hani Nimat Allah, the medical attaché at the Egyptian Embassy in Paris, had said the famous director’s condition was very critical and the odds of him recovering were very slim and that Shaheen had experienced bleeding in his head. Producer Jabi Khouri and the nephew of Shaheen, said that the doctors attributed the bleeding to a blow Shaheen received to his head.

Shaheen was born on January 25, 1926, and has been in film making for more than 50 years. After attending the University of Alexandria for one year, he headed off to the United States and studied directing and film making for two years and thus began his career.

His diverse work made him one of the few Egyptian directors to gain an audience abroad, particularly in Europe and France, where he won a lifetime achievement award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997.

Shaheen directed a total of 44 films, including three based on his life. In his last years, his films focused on promotion of tolerance and drawing the distinction between Islam and terrorism as in Al Akhar (The Other). He acted in four of his films, 17 of them were script-written by him.

His film list includes Bab Al Hadid, a love tragedy set in Cairo's main rail station in 1958; The Triumphant Salah Al Deen, a 1963 epic film on the Middle Ages Arab warrior Salah Al Deen; and The Land, a film produced in 1968 based on a well-known Egyptian novel tackling feudalists' oppression of peasants.

Some of his well noted movies are Father Ameen, Son of the Nile, 1953: Lady on the Train, Women Without Men, Those People of the Nile, The Sparrow, The Return of the Prodigal Son, Alexandria... Why?, An Egyptian Story, Adieu Bonaparte, The Sixth Day, Alexandria Again and Forever, The Emigrant, Destiny, The Other, Silence...We're Rolling, September 11, Alexandria ... New York, and his last film was Chaos.

mourners who came together at the director’s funeral. Large crowds of people gathered outside the Roman Catholic Church of Resurrection. In addition to political figures, and officials from the ruling National Democratic Party also attended the funeral to bid farewell to Shaheen, who passed away at the age of 82.Shaheen will be buried in his hometown in Alexandria Egypt.
Shaheen received numerous awards and recognitions at different Arab and International festivals for his great achievements. From AlBawaba.

OK, I will not pretend that I am a huge fan of Shaheen's movies (I like his earlier movies, but his later work is beyond my taste and understanding), yet I will still miss him as an icon of Egyptian movies, and I will definitely miss his sharp stinging political and social comments.

God bless you ya Joe.

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