Marwan Hamed's The Yacoubian Building has been selected by Egypt to represent it in the race for a foreign language Oscar nomination this year.

The film, which has enjoyed great success in its home territory, has been the subject of controversy given its themes of Islamic fundamentalism, police brutality and homosexuality.

Released in June in Egypt, Yacoubian took more than $2m at the local box office and with a $4m budget, is the most expensive locally-produced film in the country's history.

Based on the novel by Alaa Al-Aswany, the film stars Adel Imam and Nour El-Sharif and was produced by the Good News Group. In circulation for five weeks in France, it has taken $0.7m on just 40 copies for Bac Films.

After a prize at the Montreal festival, Yacoubian will get a special screening in Rome and be released in the US by Reflection Distribution before the end of the year.