Mr. Movie

Battelle Film Club offers look at Egyptian society

The Yacoubian Building is the second offering of Battelle Film Clubfall series.

It’s from Egypt and is set in the 1990s in a building of the same name. The 2006 subtitled film paints a fascinating picture of Egyptian society in that decade.

While following multiple characters in episodic fashion, The Yacoubian Building delves into the nation’s struggle with social issues ranging from class status, homosexuality and sexual freedom. It touches on a corrupt government and fundamentalists who want to replace the government with religious rule.

Some of the characters are rich. Others are poor. Defining the film is tough. Like real life, sometimes the film is comical. Other times, it is deeply dramatic.

There are a couple of flaws. The first is the length. At 2 1/2 hours, it’s a bit long. And in the middle, it’s soft and more like a soap opera.

However you define The Yacoubian Building -- comedy, drama or soap opera -- you will find it fascinating.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars

Rated PG-13 for violence, mature themes. It plays one time only -- 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 9 -- at the Battelle Auditorium.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.