Veteran film director Youssef Chahine caused a stir at the Venice Film Festival last Friday with the screening of his latest movie “Heya Fawda (Chaos) presented in competition for the Golden Lion Award.
Chahine took the film viewers through a hair-raising trip through the nation’s endemic corruption wrapped in a violent tale of unrequited love.
As soon as they get into a position, the sickness begins. They become crazy, the 81-year-old Chahine was reported to have said of Egyptian officials. Inevitably they re very nasty, and it never ends.
“Chaos takes a look at the universal theme of power and corruption, but focuses on problems that have cropped up in Egypt’s recent history.
Hatem, portrayed by Khaled Saleh, is a policeman who takes out his personal frustrations on the young suspects he rounds up during protest rallies. He tortures them and locks them up in jail cells with little hope of being released.
Hatem bribes and extorts prominent businessmen, but his character takes a turn for the worse when the woman he desires shuns him.
At a press conference in Venice, Chahine was reported to have said that he was enraged and angry about what was happening in his own country and elsewhere, but added that police in many countries increasingly used disproportionate force to quell unrest and protest.
There were reports that 81-year-old Chahine fell ill during the shooting of “Chaos. This led to speculation that with over forty films to his credit, his latest entry to the film festival may be his last.
A second director, Khaled Youssef, was brought in to co-helm the movie.
I am young. I am only 81 years old, Chahine told Reuters at a press conference in Venice.
First of all, I never look at myself in the mirror; I think it s silly to do that and tell oneself that you are getting older, he added, speaking through a translator.
He reminded reporters that Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira, who also has a film at the festival this year but not in the main competition, was still going strong despite being several years his senior at 98.
Thank God there are older people than me and they are still young, like Mr. Oliveira, Chahine was reported to have said. Yesterday we met and he squeezed my hand very hard and almost crushed my fingers.
At 81, I am not old compared to him and I hope I can keep working for another 10 years. Old age is to let oneself become old. I believe that it is possible to meet people who are 20 years old who are older than me.