number two | bande à part | images: vanessa agudo
The Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine has become a reference in cinema thanks to his interest in cultural exchanges between countries. Cinema may be an actual tool to join together places apparently as different as Alexandria and New York and it may create a sense of belonging among both Arabic and North-American cultures, whose identity policies seem to unable their understanding. Thus, is there something more democratic than cinema, an art where everyone belongs, everyone has a voice and an identity? Cinema is probably one of the best ways to bring about conciliation on all cultural sides but, even more important, it allows to think thoroughly on current cultural policies.
In Méli-mélo, or: A Member of the Wedding, Adrian Martin reviews some of Chahine’s films at the same time that emphasizes the filmmaker’s love for the musical genre and his particular interpretation of the American movies. Besides, Martin points out that Chahine’s multicultural and narcissistic creativeness leads to a deep reflection on life and culture, but also on the problems caused by current invasive policies. At last but not least, Martin states that Chahine’s filmography reveals the real cinema’s raison d’être and it allows the audience to finally find his role, a place where everyone can belong to.