Sad news from Cairo where Youssef Chahine has passed on at the age of 82. Jo, as he was known to almost everyone who crossed his path, was a warm, delightful individual and an endlessly inventive filmmaker, whose unpredictable mixture of styles and tones remains one of the best arguments I know for an anti-theoretical, “impure” cinema. He worked in practically every genre known to man, from the historical epic to the personal testament, though I suspect he loved the mad world of Egyptian melodrama the best. A.O. Scott has a nice obituary in today’s Times, and Richard Pena has alerted me to a Chahine discussion board, here. Only half a dozen (and not necessarily the best) of Chahine’s more than forty feature films are available on DVD; it’s criminal that no one has come out with, at least, “Central Station,” the 1958 film that brought Chahine to European attention. It’s a classic noir with an Arab twist, starring Chahine himself as a handicapped newspaper peddler hopelessly in love with the sultry lemonade seller (Hind Rostom) who works with him at the main Cairo train station. And there are many, many more where it came from . . .