The story is set in the 12th century in Arab-ruled Spanish province Andalusia, where famed philosopher Averroes (Ebn Roshd) is appointed grand judge by the caliph and his liberal court judgments are not liked by everyone. The caliph's political rivals, centered around the leader of a fanatical Islamic sect, force the caliph to send Averroes into exile, but his ideas keep on living thanks to his students. The film gathers so many aspects, and Chahine relates them to todays world. An incredible, well crafted film. Destiny a deeply felt, exuberant historical fresco with profound implications for today-and spiced it all with a few rousing musical numbers.
Original Title: Al Massir
1997, Egypt, 135 min., directed by Youssef Chahine
In Arabic with English subtitles.
Nour El-Sherif, Laila Eloui, Hany Salama, Khaled El Nabaoui, Mohamed Mounir, Safia El Emari, Mahmoud Hemida, Ahmed Fouad Selim, Seif El Dine
Country: Egypt, France
Production: Misr international films, Canal Plus+
Producer: Gabriel Khoury, Marianne Khoury, Humbert Balsan
Photography: Mohsen Nasr
Editing: Rashida Abdel Salam
Music: Yehia El Mougy, Kamal El Taweel
A prizewinner at Cannes, Destiny is another powerful, deeply humanistic, vibrant piece of art from Chahine.
Alarmed by the rise of religious fundamentalism in Egypt in the 1990s, Chahine created an historical epic centered on the philosopher Ibn Rashd (known in the West as AverroÃ«s) and set in medieval CÃ³rdoba, Spain where-under Arab rule-a secular and multicultural society flourished. To make his point, Chahine concocts the story of a young Arab man lured away from his "decadent" lifestyle and indoctrinated into a fundamentalist sect. Though the film operates as a sincere and moving plea for tolerance and a timely warning against violent religious extremism, Chahine also provides plenty of spectacle, including a steamy romance and lots of song and dance.
Cannes 1997- Grand Prize of the Jury of the 50th anniversary