Magazine article New Internationalist

The Yacoubian Building

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Yacoubian Building

Article excerpt

The Yacoubian Building

scripted and directed by Marwan Named

It's the most costly film ever made in Arabic. It has the audacity to say in public what most people only dare say in private. It looks frankly at corruption, exploitation, lack of opportunity and the attraction of lslamism. It breaks the taboo on showing homosexuality. It breaks box-office records and kicks off unprecedented debate. If you're interested in the wider world, surely this is one to see!

This is one big film - not because it's nearly three hours long, even in the version cut for release with English subtitles, but because of its ambition. In the Cairo apartment block of the title, and the people and families who live there, we see modern Egypt. Zaki Bey, played brilliantly by veteran Adel Imam, son of a Pasha, regretfully lives out his days in bars and chasing women. Haj Azzam, a rich entrepreneur and one-time shoeshine boy, now chases a Japanese car concession. …

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