Friday, 6 June 2014

Eastern Boys Do It Best

Imagine you're in your flat. You put on a clean polo shirt and tie up the laces of your sneakers and wait for your rent boy to arrive. Then the bell rings. But it's not your date who pushes his way in.

It's his posse. The gang of Eastern European Boys - Russian, Moldovian, the Ukrainian - who hang out by the Gare du Nord and are up to no good. Not when it comes to you, or your appartment.

This is the beginning of "Eastern Boys", a 2013 feature film by Robin Campillo. I had been intrigued to see why Warsaw's rather conservative Kino Kultura was showing a film with homosexual content. Ten minutes in it was clear this was not a romance or a happy exploration of sexuality, but a gritty piece about exploitation and belonging in French society. 

It was therefore not surprising to find out afterwards that Robin Campillo worked on the excellent "The Class", a film about a school teacher in a deprived Paris suburb, that won the Palme d'Or in 2008.

The Class (2008) trailer

What is surprising, is the direction that "Eastern Boys" takes: An unusual relationship ends up developing between middle-aged Frenchman Daniel and streetboy Marek a.k.a. Ruslan, while prejudice and desire for truth become the spirals of the plot. And it will test your endurance. "Eastern Boys" knows how to keep you on your sneakered toes.

"Eastern Boys", Robin Campillo, 2013

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