This epic drama explores the issues of corruption, prostitution, homosexuality and drugs through the lives of tenants in a Cairo apartment building.

The Yacoubian Building (عمارة يعقوبيان) is a 2006 Egyptian film based on the novel of the same title by author Alaa Al-Aswany.

The film was directed by Marwan Hamed, and stars Adel Emam, Nour El-Sherif, Yousra and Hend Sabri.

Once regarded as the last word in elegance and comfort, the Yacoubian Building is now a run-down apartment building in downtown Cairo. This story follows the varied residents of this building.

We meet people such as business magnate Haj (El-Sherif), who hides his second wife there while pursuing a career in the Egyptian parliament. And engineer Zaki (Adel Imam) and his sister, Dawlat (Issad Younis), who live off an inheritance from their father.

Through the interwoven stories of a number of the residents, the film explores the issues of corruption, fundamentalism, prostitution, homosexuality, sexual harassment and drugs in central Cairo.

This sweeping melodrama is a vibrant and socially diverse exploration of contemporary Egypt. Despite its nearly three-hour running time, it’s also an incredibly watchable movie.

It did cause some controversy in its home country, with several of Egypt’s lawmakers taking to the floor of the People’s Assembly to protest against the film for its depiction of a gay romance.

The Yacoubian Building is the most expensive Egyptian film ever made,  and its biggest box-office hit.

The film was the countries Official Selection at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006.

After the film was released a TV series, also based on the book of the same name, was created in 2007.

Watch the official trailer for The Yacoubian Building HERE: