After two years without US distribution, director Nabil Ayouch’s Moroccan thriller “Horses of God” will finally make its stateside debut this month at New York’s Film Forum. This Cannes-award-winning film from 2012 centers on the 2003 Casablanca suicide bombings and the lives of those responsible. Though it was not nominated, Morocco submitted the film for Best Foreign Language consideration at the 2014 Oscars.
Filmmaker Jonathan Demme encountered “Horses of God” while in Marrakesh and has championed its release ever since. The film is set in the shanty towns on the fringes of Casablanca, where 12 young men plotted an attack that ultimately killed 45 people. Rather than present a portrait of terrorists-in-training, it focuses on the hopeless lives of the bombers, from childhood to ideologically torn adulthood. Here’s the official synopsis:
Ten year-old Yachine and his 13-year-old brother Hamid live in Sidi Moumen, an impoverished slum on the outskirts of Casablanca. Hamid, though just a child, works hard to sustain his family by any means, but eventually get involved with the “wrong crowd” and becomes one of the local neighborhood bosses. Yet, he continues to fiercely protect his brother Yachine – until the day he is thrown into prison.
After years in jail, Hamid returns home a changed man: he is now an Islamic fundamentalist. Now back home, he persuades Yachine and his pals to join their brother.
Watch the trailer below. “Horses of God” will premiere at Film Forum on May 14. Ayouch will be in town for the premiere screening.