A group of Pontian Greek immigrant teenage dreamers dwelling marginalised in the notorious and lustreless wild suburbia, witness the city’s repulsive face and an unrelenting world defined by prostitution, drugs, and inevitably, loss.
FROM THE EDGE OF THE CITY, Greece’s official submission for the best Foreign Film Oscar, is a multi-layered film that can likewise appeal to many spheres of society. In (homophobic?) Greece, it has been viewed as a serious study of urban angst, involving immigrant Russian Greeks avoiding any mention of the film’s overkill gay content. Nevertheless, it has been a box-office success, though mainstream Greece dares not mention one of the reasons for the success is the (paid) love that likewise dares not mention its name. In contrast, the film’s international exposure up to now, prior to the Oscar nominations, has been almost exclusively at International Gay Film Festivals: San Francisco and, particularly Verzaubert, which tours Germany’s largest cities, including Berlin where I saw it. The American-accented openly gay director of the film (one of the few Greek professionals who has dared come out of the closet) made a point of explaining this to the all-male sold-out crowd in Berlin in late November. He made the movie as a labor of love; out of his fixation on the leading character, which, like the rest of the cast, are not professional actors, just real Russian-Greek immigrant youth. These guys’ desperate quest to get ahead in the European Union’s consumer-driven society leads them to crime, including male prostitution, though they themselves exploit female prostitutes. Add to those conflicts, the homoerotic overtones of these teenage guys’ physical contacts, realization and open discussion of their lives as homosexual prostitutes, and the film exceeds any definition of a gay film. This is very clear. That notwithstanding, many will continue to be in denial of this, and look at the film as social commentary, as an immigration tragedy, as a generational-conflict movie. Indeed, this movie can be many things to many people.
Director: Constantine Giannaris
Writer: Constantine Giannaris
Stars: Stathis Papadopoulos, Costas Kotsianidis, Panayiotis Hartomatzidis
Language: Greek | Russian
Release Date: 24 January 1999 (Greece)
Also Known As: From the Edge of the City
Filming Locations: Omonia, Athens, Greece
Format : AVI
Format/Info : Audio Video Interleave
File size : 679 MiB
Duration : 1 h 29 min
Overall bit rate : 1 059 kb/s