Eastern Boys (2013)

ROBIN CAMPILLO

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  

France, 2013.  Les Films de Pierre, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Canal+, Région Aquitaine, Conseil Général des Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Cofinova 8, Playtime.  Screenplay by Robin Campillo.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by Robin Campillo.  

Frequently spying handsome young hustler Marek at his nearby train station, wealthy financier Daniel approaches him and asks him to stop by his place the next day for a paid sexual assignation.  It turns out to be a trap, as the gang of illegal Russian and Ukrainian immigrants with which young Marek spends most of his time all show up at Daniel’s pad en masse and clean him out of all his possessions while, in an incredibly tense sequence, they hold him hostage in his own home.  Then something surprising happens when Marek continues to come around and Daniel, deeply touched by the young man, begins a sugardaddy relationship with him that crosses boundaries of servitude and affection.  It’s a delicately nuanced, sexy romance that gets away with being superbly entertaining even if it could afford to be a little more critical: major European cities in the west are appalled at the problems they are having with the criminal element from the east filling their cities, but don’t seem to mind making them an underclass of undocumented workers who do menial labour or sex work to survive.  Bookended by two incredible sequences of nervewracking fright, the tight direction and terrific performances make this one smoothly watchable throughout.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2013

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