Eastern Boys

When middle-aged gay professional Daniel spots the undocumented
teenager Marek at a train station in Paris and invites him back to his place,
he unwittingly makes himself the target of a home invasion by a gang of
ruthless Eastern European youth. Despite this most unpromising of starts,
Marek and Daniel continue to see each other and their relationship shifts
from a sexual arrangement to a surrogate father-son bond. As Daniel learns
more about Marek’s life in his native Chechnya, he decides to rescue him from
the gang. Though Eastern Boys is only the second feature directed by veteran
screenwriter Robin Campillo, it is a surprisingly assured effort, combining
empathy and intellectual honesty with a formal rigor that allows the film to
develop the breathless momentum of a thriller without sacrificing its complex
approach to the hot-button topic of immigration. Through his unusual and
thought-provoking way of handling his subject matter, Campillo develops a
critical awareness of each of his characters’ positions in society. Whether by
recognizing the continued vulnerability of the homosexual, dedicating screen
time in a sparsely populated film to a cleaning lady and a hotel receptionist,
or precisely describing the circumstances of undocumented youth in France
today, Campillo has proved that he is a keen witness to his times, and one
whose perspective will be valuable in the years ahead.

Robin Campillo

Robin Campillo

Oliver Rabourdin
Kirill Emelyanov
Danil Vorobyev

French, Russian, Ukrainian, English
128 min.
France, 2013
Blu-ray, DCP

First Run