Country : France / Egypt
Medium : Colour
Duration : 115'
Video : TF1 Films / Welcome distribution
Production : Misr International / Renn Production
Scenario : Youssef Chahine
Screenplay : Youssef Chahine and Mohsen Mohiedine
Music : Gabriel Yared
Director of photography : Mohsen Nasr
Plot : On the beaches of Egypt young Ali and his brother Yehia see the arrival of Bonaprte's fleet. The French have come to liberate the Egyptians from the Mamluk yoke. After a hard-fought fight before the pyramids (from which the French emerge victors) the soldiers of the republic join in friendship with the Egyptians of Cairo. This is particularly true of General Caffarelli, Bonaparte's friend from the days of the Italian campaign. Ali and Yehia are not far behind.
Cast : Patrice Chéreau (Bonaparte) ; Michel Piccoli (Caffarelli) ; Mohsen Mohiedine (Aly) ; Hassan Hussein (The father) ; Mohsena Tewfik (The mother) ; Mohamad Hatef (Yehia) ; Hoda Sultan (Nifissa) ; Christian Patey (Horace) ; Gamil Ratib (Barthelemy) ; Claude Cernay (Decoin) ; Dahlia Younès (Nahed) ; Farid Mahmoud (Faltaos)
Extract : « Bonaparte. - We must punish the Mamluks.
Caffarelli. - By massacring the Egyptian and the Syrians ?
Bonaparte. - You and your academic colleagues, how enlightening for them !
Caffarelli. - It's a joke ! It's like the aerostat - what a disaster !
Bonaparte. - Your fierce desire to transmit something of yourself to other people, the glory of France.
Caffarelli. - Your glory. General Bon is dead. Rambeaud, 600 men, Horace, the admirable Horace - they are all dead for the glory of France ! »
Review : Youssouf's tale is half historical half philosophical and it takes the viewer on a voyage of discovery of Egypt whose oriental aromas possess the soul of the world. The Napoleonic expedition serves as a pretext for a fable on two humans, Aly and Caffarelli, two beings worlds apart but linked by French literature and their love for each other. Adieu Bonaparte was chosen to represent Egypt at the 1985 Cannes festival. Yvonne Sassinot de Nesle's costumes are sumptuous, Mohen Nasr images of the Nile and Mediterranean are spectacular and Chahine and Mohiedine's dialogues are extremely moving. Furthermore, Patrice Chéreau's Bonaparte (part Dieudonné part Barrault) is unforgettable with its feeling of reverie and real-life snapshot memory-figure. Light years away from Arabian Nights.