Palatable: Eastern Boys

Eastern Boys (2013)
Directed by Robin Campillo
Written by Robin Campillo, Gilles Marchand
Produced by Hugues Charbonneau, Marie-Ange Luciani
Starring Olivier Rabourdin, Kirill Emelyanov, Daniil Vorobyov, Edéa Darcque, Camila Chakirova, Bislan Yakhiaev, Mohamed Doukouzov
Panic proceeding from domestic entrenchment, lingering postwar trauma, universal commonalities of exploitation and predation, and the cultural and economic gulf between eastern Europe and the continent's central and western nations are dramatized in this handsome quadripartite tale of a lonely, middle-aged professional (Rabourdin) who solicits a cute Ukranian rent boy (Emelyanov) in the concourse of a train station, unwittingly inviting to his plush Parisian apartment a thievish East bloc gang with whom he's affiliated. Accomplished screenwriter and sophomore filmmaker Campillo effectuates his polythematic ambitions with smoothly unhurried pans and distanced static shots, attractive photography and a select cast unburdened by reductive or fanciful characterization; Vorobyov is especially notable as the gang's bellicose, creepily domineering chief. By neither demonizing nor heroizing immigrant characters whose motivations are often as inexplicit as his own delicately presented themes, Campillo stresses both the flukes and crises potential to illegal migration, as well as the eventuality of an affectionate and enduring relationship that could arise from an especially ignoble and inauspicious introduction.

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