Egyptian director Chahine dies after weeks in coma

Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:39am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Jonathan Wright

CAIRO (Reuters) - Film director Youssef Chahine, a leading light of Egyptian cinema for more than half a century, died in Cairo on Sunday at the age of 82 after six weeks in a coma, his office said.

Chahine, best known for his series of films linked to the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, had a brain hemorrhage in June and spent several weeks in a Paris hospital before returning to Cairo about 10 days ago.

The director's last film, Chaos, came out earlier this year but his colleague Khaled Youssef had to finish the work because of Chahine's ill health.

Film critic Tarek el-Shenawi said in tribute that Chahine set the standard for generations of Egyptian directors.

"He was the master. When you see the names of those who worked with him ... you can say that the giants of Egyptian cinema graduated from the Youssef Chahine academy," he said.

"For 60 years he was the biggest name in Egyptian cinema and he breathed cinema to the very end. Youssef Chahine lived only for cinema," he added.

Critic Ahmed Youssef said: "Egyptian cinema without Youssef Chahine will have lost much of its special touch and its contribution to global cinema. He was part of a context in which Egyptian cinema was searching for itself."

Film director Asmaa al-Bakry praised Chahine as a film-maker and activist. "He played a very large role in cinema, spreading Egyptian cinema abroad."   Continued...

<p>Egyptian director Youssef Chahine attends a photocall in Venice September 07, 2007. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi</p>