films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Alexandria, Again and Forever

Iskanderija, Kaman oue Kaman
1989 / 100m - Egypt
Drama, Comedy
Alexandria, Again and Forever poster

My experience with Middle-Eastern cinema is pretty limited. I do know that Egypt has a relatively rich cinematic history, but I haven't seen many films from that area in general. Chahine is a name that keeps popping up though, so when I got the chance to sample some of his work, I took the jump.

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Yehia is an Egyptian filmmaker. When Egyptian film crews are going on a strike, it triggers him to revisit his career. He ponders why he lost contact with Amr, the star of his first films. Was it the commercialization of cinema that pulled them apart, or was it the beautiful Nadia that drove a wedge between them?

It's nice to see a Middle-Eastern film that isn't pure drama. There's a lighter vibe to the film, especially when Yehia revisits some of more commercial efforts. The film is nicely shot and there are some striking moment, still, the overarching drama didn't do much for me and the film ended up being a bit too long to be truly enjoyable.


1997 / 135m - Egypt
Destiny poster

A pretty formal film about a time in history (the Arab-ruled Andalusia in the 12th century) that doesn't get too much attention otherwise. It could've made a decent enough premise, but apart from the decent cinematography, the film loses itself in dry philosophy, rather dull characters and the odd musical intermezzo.

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The film follows Averroes, a respected philosopher who is appointed by the caliph to be the grand judge and lead the court. Averroes does so with reason and compassion, but not everyone likes his ideas. The rise of a fanatical Islam sect pushes the caliph to expel Averroes, leaving his students to keep his ideologies alive.

The pacing is sluggish, my ears weren't quite ready for the songs and the performances are pretty middling. I also don't care too much for the religious and philosophical themes, but at least the film looked quite polished. It wasn't enough to warrant the 2+ hour runtime, but certainly not the worst Egyptian film I've seen.