The Emigrant tells the epic biblical tale of Joseph, son of Jacob, from the Egyptian perspective. Ram, the Joseph character, is a dreamer and intellectual, bullied by his elder brothers. He dreams of leaving his family’s nomadic life to study agriculture in Egypt, the hub of civilization. Sold into slavery by his brothers, Ram overcomes tough odds and manages to win the admiration of those around, but at a price.
Filled with beautiful locations, exotic Egyptian ruins, and lush reenactments of decadent cult rituals, The Emigrant unleashed a storm of protest when released. Director Chahine was sued by fundamentalists for daring to depict forbidden images of a revered religious figure. When the court ban was finally lifted a year later, the film went on to become his biggest domestic success ever.
Youssef Chahine (born in Alexandria, Egypt, 1926) started studying in a friars’ school, and then turned to English College until the High School Certificate. After one year in the University of Alexandria, he moved to the U.S. and spent two years at the Pasadena Play House, taking courses on film and dramatic arts. After coming back to Egypt, cinematographer Alevise Orfanelli helped him into the film business. His film debut was Baba Amin (1950): one year later, with Ibn el Nil (1951) he was first invited to the Cannes Film festival. In 1970, he was awarded a Golden Tanit at the Carthage Festival. With Le moineau (1973), he directed the first Egypt-Algeria co-production. He won a Silver Bear in Berlin for Iskanderija… lih? (1978), the first installment in what proved to be an autobiographic trilogy, completed with adduta misrija (1982) and Iskanderija, kaman oue kaman (1990).
In 1992, Jacques Lassalle proposed him to stage a piece of his choice for Comédie Française… read more