Why Alexandria

Youssef Chahine’s Most Iconic Films on Netflix

Consider this your guide to the legendary Egyptian director

Why Alexandria

With a 58-year-long career spanning over 40 films, there are few Arab directors that are as legendary as Youssef Chahine—and his work is about to be more accessible than ever. 

Interested in getting to know his classics? As of June 18, four of Chahine’s most iconic films will be on Netflix. If you aren’t familiar with his work, now is the time to.

Chahine’s iconic Why Alexandria is, of course, on the roster. This semi-autobiographical tale touches on the real-life story of Chahine’s fascination with Hollywood, which led the filmmaker to study cinema in Los Angeles before returning to Egypt. The film is the first of a trilogy, which includes his 1990 classic Alexandria Again and Again – which will also be on Netflix. 

And if you’re curious about Chahine’s work as an actor, you’ll also be able to watch his 1954 romantic drama Seraa Fi Al Wadi, which marked Omar Sharif’s first role alongside his future wife Faten Hamama

Al Mohger, one of Chahine’s most controversial pieces will also be available on the streaming giant. The film—which loosely tells the biblical story of Joseph, with all the tale’s characters renamed and supernaturalism removed—was banned twice. The first time was due to a lawsuit from a lawyer who cited that Islam forbid the visual representation of religious figures, and the second lawsuit was because a Christian lawyer claimed that the film deviates from the Biblical tale.

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