Nasrallah was born to a Coptic Christian family in Cairo. He graduated in economics and political science at Cairo University. Following, he worked as a film critic and directing assistant in Beirut from 1978 to 1982. He became assistant to Youssef Chahine whose company Misr International would go on to produce his films. Nasrallah's works have dealt with themes of leftism, Islamic fundamentalism, and expatriation.