In an interview in Qantara
, the doyen of Egyptian film ,Yousef Chahine
gives his view on the political situation and the current state of egyptian society. He gives us some really good qoutes, this is but a few soundbites:
Question: What do you think is the role of artists in the contemporary political situation?
Chahine: You must participate. You can't be an artist if you don't know the social, the political, and the economical context. If you talk about the Egyptian people, you must know about are their problems. Either you are with modernity or you don't know what the hell you're doing. Because when Mr. Bush farts we jump.
Question: Do you believe that the United States or France would help "Kifaya" like they supported the opposition movement in Lebanon?
Chahine: No. The U.S. is helping Mr. Mubarak. They put him there. He is one of their stooges. He always blackmails them: "It's either me or the Islamists." They prefer him.
Question: How important, economically, is success in Egypt for your films?
Chahine: If they are forbidden in Egypt, you're ruined. That is the strength of the censorship. You show your scenario first, and three imbeciles read it. They say: "You take out this, you take out that". Then I say: "No, I take out nothing." And while you are shooting, you have two or three veiled ladies and they sit there looking at what you are doing. So I have to find tricks: I have a very handsome assistant, so I tell him to flirt with them. So any time I shoot a scene that is a little bit political or sexual he takes them to the corridor. As far away from me as possible.
The sadest part however, is the ending of the interview , he really has no hope in the political changes , or for the young people in Egypt and concludes like this
Question: Can you imagine Egypt being more free and liberal in the near future?
Chahine: No, neither in the near not in the faraway future. The people are too tired to do demonstrations in the streets.
Question: Even the many, many young people in Egypt don't give you hope?
Chahine: Not because they are young. I see them front of the German and French consulates, everybody wants to emigrate. I used to tell the young people: "Don't do it! If you have studied, we need you here". I was old-fashioned thinking only of the beauty of my country. Now I tell them "leave!" They have no chance here, it's too corrupt. By staying here, you become corrupt.
Let´s hope that the Ingmar Bergman of arabic cinema, who gave us films like bab al hadid, al ard(the filmatization of Abd al Rahman ash Sharqawis novel, the earth), Iskanderiyah leh(Alexandria why), al Muhager(the emigrant), al masir(Destiny) and the last? of his Alexandria Quartet - Alexandria-New York, will keep on giving us many more films, the next project starts shooting in April 2006 according to rumours, it dosen´t have a official tittle as of yet, but is called Heya Fawda, as a project name.Youssef Chahine,Egypt