Youssef Chahine (born January 25, 1926 in Alexandria, Egypt) is an Egyptian film director. He began his education at a friars' school, and then continued his studies at the prestigious Victoria College. After one year in the University of Alexandria, he moved to the United States to study acting at the Pasadena Playhouse.
After returning to Egypt, he turned his attention to directing. Cinematographer Alvise Orfanelli helped Chahine into the film business. His film debut was Baba Amin (1950): one year later, with Nile Boy (1951) he was first invited to the Cannes Film festival. In 1970 he was awarded a Golden Tanit at the Carthage Festival. With The Sparrow(1973), in which he showed his political opinions after the six-days war with Israel, he directed the first Egypt-Algeria coproduction. He won a Silver Bear in Berlin for Alexandria.. Why? (1978), the first installment in what would prove to be an autobiographic quartet, completed with An Egyptian Story (1982), Alexandria Again and Forever (1990), and Alexandria.. New York (2004). In one of his films "the sixth day"اليوم السادس, an adaptation of a novel written in French by lebanese writer André Chedid, the famous French singer Dalida was the protagonist in the role of a poor Egyptian woman. In 1992 Jacques Lassalle approached him to stage a piece of his choice for Comédie Française: Chahine chose to adapt Albert Camus' Caligula, which proved hugely successful. The same year he started writing The Emigrant (1994), a story inspired by the Biblical character of Joseph, son of Jacob. This had long been a dream-project and he finally got to shoot it in 1994. This film created a controversy in Egypt between the enlightened wing and the fundamentalists who opposed the depiction of religious characters in films. In 1997, 46 years and 5 invitations later, his work was acknowledged at the Cannes Film Festival with a lifetime achievement award on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the festival. He is also credited with discovering Omar Sharif, whose first starring role was in Chahine's film The Blazing Sun (1954).