Part of a large family in Morocco, Abdellah (Said Mrini, young) is a confused 15-year-old who has just discovered that he is homosexual. When running an errand, he encounters an older man who takes him to a construction site and has sex with him there. But this is not a one-time occurrence – the young boy is frequently pulled aside by other men who sleep with him, usually in exchange for food. His father (Abdelhak Swilah) is fully aware of these incidents and seems to encourage Abdellah to continue such interactions.
The teenager also has two brothers and appears to be sexually attracted to his older one, Slimane (Amine Ennaji). Idolizing his handsome, muscular brother, Abdellah soon realizes that his love is unrequited and settles for simply loving Slimane from afar. He gazes at him when he is not looking, he tries to imitate his demeanor and cuddles up to his clothes on the floor. Although he is just discovering his sexual orientation, Abdellah has no one to confide in. His mother is a domineering, harsh woman without any understanding of what LGBT people experience, whereas his father is a distant, violent man who is not very concerned for his son’s safety. Moreover, the teenager is left alone in the company of older men with predatory behavior, from whom he desperately seeks some form of affection. After signing up for college in Geneva, Abdellah (Karim Ait M’Hand, adult) leads a very different life – at least at first glance.
“A film of remarkable quietude.”
— Red Carpet Crash
“An unusual and sweet pleasure.”
— Film Leaf
Did You Know?
The film’s director stated that the majority of the sex scenes from Salvation Army (L’armée du salut), as well as the way in which characters talk, sit or even fight is choreographed. This includes the infamous gay sex scene from the vegetable market. Abdellah Taïa’s aim with this endeavor was to underline the social climate in Morocco – he claims that “although we speak daily with people, the real communication rarely happens”. Review our Gay Themed Films Here