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Foreign Oscar Entry 'Horses of God,' Jonathan Demme's Thrilling Discovery from Morocco, Coming to Film Forum

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! May 2, 2014 at 12:38PM

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.
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'Horses of God'
'Horses of God'

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.

This article is related to: Jonathan Demme, Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, Academy Awards, News


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.