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 ...
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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 multi-layered portrayal of urban angst in Greece
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.
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