Alexandria Why / Iskindereya Leh

  • Release Date: 1978
  • Type: Featured
  • Run time: 120 Minutes
  • Directed by: Youssef Chahine
  • Produced by: Misr International Films
  • Screenplay: Youssef Chahine, Mohsen Zayed
  • Cast: Mohsen Mohy El Deen, Farid Shawky, Naglaa Fathy, Ezzat El-Alaily, Mahmoud El-Meligy, Mohsena Tawfik, Ahmed Zaky, Youssef Wahby, Yehia Chahine, Laila Fawzy, Seif El Deen
  • Cinematography: Mohsen Nasr
  • Art direction: Nehad Bahgat
  • Editing: Rachida Abdel Salam
  • Costume design: Ahmed Kassar
  • Music: Fouad El-Zahery
  • Sound: Nasry Abd El-Nour
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Alexandria, Why? Marked a radical, newly introspective turn in Chahine’s active career, a sharp departure from his Fifties musicals and melodramas and his later epics and political films. The first of a semi-autobiographical tetralogy, entitled “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” Alexandria, Why? focuses on a precocious adolescent whose dreams and colorful attempts to become an actor unfold against the vivid backdrop of Alexandria during World War II. A rich cast inspires Chahine’s young thespian hero with a wealth of dramatic sub-plots – at turns hilarious and touching – about wartime life. The autobiographical nature and nostalgic flavour of Alexandria, Why? make it one of Chahine’s most accessible works, a charming and entertaining film that also delivers a potently subversive and impassioned anti-war message. (Harvard Film Archive)

the Scenes