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The "Edge of the City" means Menidi, a poor suburb on the edge of pulsating Athens (the city). Menidi harbours many Cosssack Greeks. They are also called "pontios", ethnic Greeks from the Black Sea dispersed through the ex-Southern Soviet Union in the Stalin era. The "pontios" have returned to Greece en masse after the demise of the USSR. The parents speak mostly Greek, but the teenage children speak a hybrid Russian-Greek language which reflects their lack of identity and marginalization in Greece's highly xenophobic society (the only EU country where no minorities exist!...officially). The teenagers' marginalization leads them to the core of the film's theme: the lives of petty crime and prostitution which these second or third class Greeks lead. Their camaraderie, the way they mock each others' dealing in homosexuality, their sexual and criminal exploitation by rich Greeks, their own exploitation of prostitutes, sexual and moral ambiguity all lead to the film's defining! Written by
...a repeated comment from one of the interviewees in this strange little film from Greek writer/director Constantine Giannaris. Struggling somewhere between a docudrama and a ethnic drama, FROM THE EDGE OF THE CITY is written and filmed with gritty realism techniques that in the end adds some charm to an otherwise meandering movie.
During the Soviet Union era Greek Khazahkstani expatriates fled to Athens, Greece where they attempt to fit in to the Greek culture and society. But as with most immigrant groups there are challenges to face in trying to find their niche on the outskirts of a major city. The little town where they live is called Menidi and while the adults have learned Greek and found jobs, a group of teenagers who speak a mixture of Russian and Greek want the good things of life found in Athens yet waste away their own lives on roller-blading, petty crimes, cruising, drugs, male prostitution, and sexual and criminal exploitation by the wealthy Greeks: they want the good life without working for it.
The focal person of the film is Sasha (Stathis Papadopoulos) - the one who refers to himself as Rosa Ponds in interview. As with the rest of the cast he is a beautiful young man with many conflicts who seems to be seeking his identity. He and his friends move from drugs to petty crime to criminal involvement with prostitution (of both gay and straight forms). There are many subplots that could use more definition as the film tends to meander about the streets without direction. The boys become involved as both victims and perpetrators of abusive behavior, yet there is something in the nature of Sasha that makes us hope his life will even out.
Giannaris worked with street kids with no prior acting experience, a fact the gives a true sense of verismo to the film. Both the men and women involved are eye candy and while this film is being marketed as a gay movie, there is very little content to rank it as such - as though the Greek homophobia would not condone a popular movie to dwell on that subject.Nice eye candy for everyone, but not a lot of substance. Keep your expectations low and the movie will satisfy as a study of the problems of immigrants on the periphery of big cities around the world. Grady Harp
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