The Yocoubian Building




Egypt’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, 28-year-old director Hamed’s debut feature stars a veritable who’s who of Egyptian film actors.

The 70-plus-year-old Yacoubian was once the toast of Cairo, a massive apartment building populated by the city’s movers and shakers. By the time Hamed’s story picks up, the building has fallen into a state of disrepair that is reflected in its residents. A straightforward series of interweaving vignettes based on Alea El Aswani’s popular novel, capture the seamy lives of The Yacoubian’s tenants, touching on taboos rarely seen in Egyptian cinema, including religion, homosexuality and abortion.

A microcosm of Egyptian society — with its rich inhabitants living in luxurious apartments and the poor on the roof, the businessman who bribes his way to power; the rich son of a playboy who only appears interested in prostitutes; the relationship between a homosexual journalist and the porter’s son, who becomes a terrorist after been rejected by the police academy, and love story out of a Forties Warner Brothers musical.

“At times, the film…is epic in scope. At others, it’s intimate and tender…a window into a culture that few of us get to see.” (Los Angeles Times) “Compulsively watchable” — John Griffin, Montreal Gazette


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