Yachine is 10 years old, he lives with his family in the slum of Sidi Moumen in Casablanca. His mother, Yemma, leads the family as best as she can. His father suffers from depression, one of his brothers is in the army, another is almost autistic and the third, Hamid, 13, is the boss of the local neighbourhood and Yachine’s protector.
When Hamid is sent to jail, Yachine takes up jobs after jobs, though empty, to get free from the doldrums of violence, misery and drugs.
Released from prison, Hamid, now an Islamic fundamentalist, persuades Yachine and his pals to join their “brothers”.
The Imam, Abou Zoubeir, their spiritual leader, starts to direct their long-standing physical and mental preparation.
One day, he tells them they have been chosen to become martyrs.
The film is inspired by the terrorist attacks of May 16th 2003 in Casablanca. –Cannes Film Festival
Nabil Ayouch, a Moroccan filmmaker, was born in Paris in 1969. Ayouch directed his first feature, Mektoub (1997), then Ali Zaoua (2000), A Minute of Sun Less (2003), and Whatever Lola Wants (2007). His films have won many prizes around the world. Mektoub and Ali Zaoua represented Morocco at the Oscars in 1998 and 2001. Ayouch regularly returns to live events, since he designs and directs the closing event of the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland) and the opening of Temps du Maroc at the Château de Versailles. Over the last 10 years his company, Ali n’ Productions, has discovered and produced many young talents. In 2011, Nabil Ayouch directed My Land, his first feature documentary. He is preparing his next feature film, Les étoiles de Sidi Moumen. Awards: Music and Editing, National Festival of Film, Tangier, Morocco. —bostonpalestinefilmfest.org
An impressively nuanced account of how the desperation of poverty and the explosive polarization following 9/11 can lead a group of young Moroccans to become “horses of God galloping into paradise”. Read my full review: www.brnrd.net/blog/archive/2013/02/02/iffr-les-chevaux-de-dieu