Against the backdrop of the Six Day War, masterful Egyptian director Youssef Chahine sketches another of his ensemble visions of life in contemporary Egypt. At the centre of a kaleidoscopic swirl of characters are two young men, a reporter and a policeman, who begin a friendship as each confronts the legacy of his father. Their confrontations are heightened when war breaks out. The film ends, Altman-style, with all of the characters brought together, in the spontaneous outpouring of sorrow, rage, frustration and confusion onto Cairo's streets following Nasser's announcement of Egypt's military defeat and his resignation.
Youssef Chahine | Egypt/Algeria, 1972 | 1h45m | 35mm | Arabic with English subtitles |
Mahmoud el-Melingui, Mohsena Tawfiq, Seif el-Dine, Salah Kabil, Ali el-Charif
A vivid portrait of a nation in chaos, The Sparrow is set against the background of Egypt's shocking defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War with Israel, a traumatic event that transformed Egyptians' confidence in Nasser into ambivalence towards a leader suddenly revealed to be deeply fallible. Eschewing traditional narrative in favor of an episodic ensemble piece focused on the hunt for a politically connected crime kingpin, The Sparrow'sheady combination of realist and expressionist elements is meant to disorient the viewer and evoke Chahine's vision of a country suddenly gone far astray.
PRIX / FESTIVALS / AWARDS / DISTINCTIONS / TELEVISIONS
2007 | Africa in Motion | EDINBURGH, Scottland | www.africa-in-motion.org.uk
1996 | Festival de Locarno (Suisse)
* Section: Rétrospective Youssef Chahine Longs métrages