7.5/10
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The Yacoubian Building (2006)

Omaret yakobean (original title)
Meditations on corruption, fundamentalism, prostitution, homosexuality, and drugs in central Cairo.

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9 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Christine
...
Dawlat El Dessouky (as Issad Younis)
Ahmad Bedair ...
Malaak (as Ahmed Bedeir)
...
Bothayna (as Hind Sabry)
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Ahmed Rateb ...
Fanous
Somaya El Khashab ...
...
...
Taha El Shazly (as Mohamed Imam)
Youssef Dawood ...
Fekry Abdel Shaheed (as Youseff Daoud)
Talaat Zakaria ...
Bar Owner
...
Narrator
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Storyline

Cairo: a 70-year-old building of once-luxury flats with tenements on the roof. Zika, an aging libertine, feuds with his sister. Pius Haj Azzam takes a second wife, in secret, to satisfy sexual drive within religious bounds. Bothayna, poor and beautiful, supports her family, wanting to do so with dignity intact. Her former fiancé, Taha, the janitor's son, humiliated by the police, turns to fundamentalism. Hatem, a gay editor, seduces and corrupts a young man from the sticks. Two brothers, Copts, one a tailor and one Zika's factotum, connive for property. Allah is on most everyone's lips, and corruption is in their hearts. European values, both refined and worldly, provide a subtext. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

21 June 2006 (Egypt)  »

Also Known As:

The Yacoubian Building  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

EGP 18,000,000 (estimated)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Official submission of Egypt for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 79th Academy Awards in 2007. See more »

Goofs

When Hatem is drinking while remembering his youth near the end of the film, he finishes his drink. Seconds later, he finishes it again. See more »

Soundtracks

La Vie en Rose
Music by Louiguy
Lyrics by Édith Piaf
Performed by Youssra
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User Reviews

 
One of the most watchable Egyptian Movies
29 October 2006 | by See all my reviews

This excellent black drama is a must see despite its nearly three-hour running time, the movie is one of the most watchable and enjoyable pieces of art in Egyptian Cinema.

I didn't read the story before seeing that controversial movie, so I had low expectations. But despite that, got hooked as early as the quality intro that takes you smoothly through an enjoyable ride to discover the background behind that nostalgic building in central Cairo through a Sepia short clip.

The film is an artistic black drama which is full of cultural and political symbolism if you read carefully between the lines, my interpretation is that the building is a clear symbol of the country itself and how it transformed dramatically from the nostalgic early days of the 40s till the present day, shedding light on the price that the Egyptian society had to pay during that rough trip, and how the society has clear double standards that everyone is trying to ignore.

Every side story evolves in a different direction and involves controversial characters who are linked only by the same building (society) in someway or the other, the different stories are interweaves in an artistic way to dramatise different controversial issues and taboos from adultery, political corruption, homosexuality to Islamic fundamentalism.

The movie has a general sad feel around it especially for anyone who lived in Egypt as it touches on the deterioration and many negative issues that are becoming more and more the norm in most Egyptian society levels that was once a conservative and religious society. It is strong wakeup call to those who love their country to stop burying their heads in the sand when it comes to double standards that's affecting everyone in the society making everyone feel inferior to the country. The story will make you think deeply about how and why a country like Egypt could end up where it is today.

The cinematography, steady cams, crane camera movement is brilliant, the smooth cuts and soft transitions boosts the romantic dimension of the storyline. As expected, the music score by Khaled Hammad is expressive, romantic and adds a lot of depth to many scenes. The tempo of the movie is just right, giving enough time for actors to express their feelings through longer than usual shots that will never leave you bored. Action scenes are also very well done.

A must see piece of art for anyone who is living or used to live in Egypt.


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