Gay writer-director Abdellah Taïa has brought L’Armée du Salut (Salvation Army), his landmark 2006 novel about a young Moroccan man’s sexual awakening to the big screen, directing the film version that debuts March 27 as part of the Film Society at Lincoln Center’s New Directors/New Films series.
As a 15-year-old, Abdellah (Saïd Mrini) sneaks away from his crowded family home in Casablanca for rendezvous with random men. A decade later, the adult Abdellah (now played by Karim Ait M’hand) is on scholarship in Geneva and involved with an older Swiss professor (Frédéric Landenberg).
From the New Directors site:
“With a clear-eyed approach devoid of sentimentality, this wholly surprising bildungsfilm explores what it means to be an outsider, and with the help of renowned cinematographer Agnès Godard, Taïa finds a film language all his own: at once rigorous and poetic, worthy of Bresson in its concreteness and lucidity.”
Below, watch a scene from Salvation Army.
Below, writer Dale Peck interviews Taïa at a PEN America talk.