The Yacoubian Building (15)

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The Independent Culture

Based on Alaa Al Aswany's novel, this uneven but powerful ensemble drama anatomises modern Cairo through the inhabitants of the eponymous building.

The film takes a pretty despairing view of Egyptian society, whether in its political injustice or sexual hypocrisy; the virus of corruption invades every level of the milieu, and its social divisions render it a breeding ground for terrorism. At nearly three hours, a more coherent structure is required, and the switches between characters carry the whiff of soap. But its passionate attack on venality recalls something of Trollope and The Way We Live Now.

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