march 16–26


The Yacoubian Building
Omaret yakobean
Added to my films
Erected in downtown Cairo in 1934, the Yacoubian apartment building was one of the largest, most luxurious edifices of its day. Over the years, however, the building fell into disrepair, and the rooftop dwellings that had been used as servants' quarters were rented out to the destitute and downtrodden. Torn between attempts to modernize and entrenched Islamic tradition, Egypt saw soaring poverty. Marwan Hamed balances various story lines with skill, elicits credible performances from his cast, and deftly handles variations in tone and scale. At times, the film, Egypt's official Oscar submission, is epic in scope. At others, it's intimate and tender. At more than 2 1/2 hours, „The Yacoubian Building“ is nothing if not long. But it's a window into a culture that few of us get to see.
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