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Salvation Army (2013)

L'armée du salut (original title)
Unrated | | Drama | 23 January 2015 (USA)
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In a working class neighborhood in Casablanca, Abdellah, a homosexual teen, tries to build his own life within his big family, caught between an authoritarian mother and an older brother, who he adores.


Abdellah Taia


Abdellah Taia (novel)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Said Mrini Said Mrini ... Abdellah jeune
Karim Ait M'Hand Karim Ait M'Hand ... Abdellah adulte
Amine Ennaji Amine Ennaji ... Slimane
Frédéric Landenberg Frédéric Landenberg ... Jean
Hamza Slaoui Hamza Slaoui ... Mustapha
Malika El Hamaoui Malika El Hamaoui ... La mère
Abdelhak Swilah Abdelhak Swilah ... Le père
Youness Chara Youness Chara ... Fumeur de joints
Oumaima Miftah Oumaima Miftah ... Soeur 1
Souhaila Achike Souhaila Achike ... Soeur 2
Houda Mokad Houda Mokad ... Soeur 3
Ibtissam Es Shaimi Ibtissam Es Shaimi ... Soeur 4
Hasna Boulahana Hasna Boulahana ... Soeur 5
Amal Maarouf Amal Maarouf ... Serveuse restaurant
Amin Labsal Amin Labsal ... Le pêcheur


Abdellah is a young gay man navigating the sexual, racial and political climate of Morocco. Growing up in a large family in a working-class neighborhood, Abdellah is caught between a distant father, an authoritarian mother, an older brother whom he adores and a handful of predatory older men, in a society that denies his homosexuality. As a college student, Abdellah moves to Geneva and while faced with the new possibilities of freedom, he grapples with the loss of his homeland. SALVATION ARMY, the directorial debut for Abdellah Taïa - an acclaimed Moroccan and Arab writer - is adapted from his novel of the same name. Taïa is the first writer of his descent to speak out openly about his homosexuality. Written by Strand Releasing

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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France | Morocco | Switzerland


French | Arabic

Release Date:

23 January 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Salvation Army See more »


Box Office


€1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,433, 25 January 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,433, 25 January 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Features Ayyam wa layali (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

Simple, slightly exotic, unsentimental, and good
18 April 2015 | by ekebySee all my reviews

Though adapted from an autobiography by a Moroccan writer, this is very much a French film, and quite a good one IMO. This is a gay-themed movies for grown ups. It's a film that transcends its deceptively simple storyline and it packs a wallop.

It's difficult to summarize this movie without making it sound like less than it is. It's a coming of age movie, yes, but that's just the framework for some very unusual fare.

We first meet Abdellah as a young teenager. He's at the age when it's becoming inappropriate for him to hang with his sisters and mother, and time to be with the men, though his family doesn't see him as a man yet.

Nevertheless, he's already sexually active with adult men in his Casablanca neighborhood. Though family life is a little grim, his father seems to know that his son is an object of desire and that he has crushes. Interestingly, this doesn't seem to be a big deal.

Midway the film jumps ahead to show Abdellah in very different circumstances leading a very different life. It's an abrupt change, one that startles. But it's the latter part of the movie that gives it its heft. It may be a simple story line, but it's a weighty theme.

It's worth noting that the only time we see Abdellah smile in the movie is when he is young during an encounter with a man who is perhaps six or seven years his senior. We see an exchange of emotion between two equals, despite their age difference. It's a brief scene, and neither the partner nor that feeling is shown again. I'm noting this scene because if you see the movie, you may need to be reminded that there was once a smile....

Lest you be put off by the title, a Salvation Army facility is seen briefly, but the title is a metaphor.

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