FROM THE EDGE OF THE CITY (Από την άκρη της πόλης / Apo tin akri tis polis)
Greece / 1998 / 94 min / Greek/Russian / Drama
Director: Constantine Giannaris
Cast: Stathis Papadopoulos, Costas Kotsianidis, Panayiotis Hartomatzidis
The Skinny: Greek Rent Boys Have the Worst Luck
Plato Score: C+
If you think that this is just another film about hot male trade with an abundant amount of naked male torsos on display then— well…yeah, you pretty much nailed it.
From the Edge of the City is a gritty gay drama that follows Sasha (purportedly a former hustler in real-life) and his down-and-out pals. They’re all Pontic Greek refugees from Russia who moved back to the Athens suburb of Menidi, home of crime, crime and more crime.
Sasha quits his construction job and goes for the life of slacker extraordinaire. He and his buddies like to get high, skateboard and frolic with prostitutes. As to their life of rentboyyin’: they only do it for the money, pretty much allowing them to enjoy their kicks. Sasha soon gets involved with a Russian hooker, Natasha, and the two of them try to escape it all—but Natasha’s bevy of pimps have other plans.
You can tell that the film set out to be more than just a run-of-the-mill gay hustler fare, but eventually it becomes mired in standard cliches and tropes of the genre. The film does a good job of highlighting the dead-ends and prejudice many of these refugees face (as well as the human trafficking that abounds), but the hookers-with-hearts-of-gold storyline becomes a little too heavy-handed.
One gets the feeling that the filmmakers saw Trainspotting and Kids WAY too many times. The result is over-stylized shots at the expense of the story (Look how cool and pretty the world of drugs and prostitution are! Until they’re not.) Yet Sasha and his dream team are empirically nummy to look at and not bad actors considering their lack of training. Verdict: a worthy night out with some Greek rent boys.