The historical epic Saladin is Chahine’s only film where the dialogue is in Fusha (ancient Arabic) and is without doubt the director’s most splendid film. The story takes place in the 12th century under the third crusade, and is an epic about the sultan Saladin’s defense of Jerusalem against the Christian crusaders. The film was released in-between the two wars with Israel, and many read the film as an image of the politics run by president Gamal Abdel Nasser and his effort for a pan-Arabic movement.

The film maker Youssef Chahine (1926-2008) contributed with artistically ambitious films through six decades and is the director that made Egyptian film internationally renowned. Chahine masterly managed to mirror the Egyptian society’s enormous political and social upheavals through his films. His first film Daddy Amin premiered in 1950, and his last film Chaos in 2007. Chahine is also known as the film maker who discovered the actor Omar Sharif.

Original title Cinemateket: El Naser Salah el Dine

Year 1963

Director Youssef Chahine

Screenplay Mohamed Abdel Gawad, Youssef Chahine

Cinematography Wadid Sirry

Producer Youssef Chahine

Cast Ahmad Mazhar, Mohamed Abdel Gawad, Salah Dhulfeqar

Runtime 3h 6m

Links IMDb