They come from all over Eastern Europe: Russia, Romania, Ukraine. They are Eastern boys. The oldest appear no more than 25; as for the youngest, there is no way of telling their age. They ... See full summary »
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They come from all over Eastern Europe: Russia, Romania, Ukraine. They are Eastern boys. The oldest appear no more than 25; as for the youngest, there is no way of telling their age. They hang around the Gare du Nord train station in Paris. They might be prostitutes, but there is no way of knowing for certain. Muller, a discreet man in his late fifties has his eye on one of them - Marek. One afternoon, Muller gathers his courage and speaks to him. The young man agrees to come visit Muller the following day, at his place. However the next day, when the doorbell rings, Muller doesn't have the faintest idea that he has fallen into a trap. Written by
Most people in the West know that being gay in Eastern Europe isn't easy. However, the most difficult aspect of being a gay Eastern European - like yours truly - isn't the danger of the situation, or severing the ties to your family, or finding an opportunity to work in a Western country. No, the most difficult thing is that, once one is there, one is constantly confronted with the stereotypes pictured in this film and many others.
Here, we have a well-off man in his 40s cruising a hustler in a station, foolishly giving him his address because he isn't free that day. It's not just the hustler who shows up for the date, but also his peers. They clear the man's apartment, which he stoically endures. To make up for it, the hustler returns later for the promised sex and keeps coming back. The man falls in love with him but the boy's motives remain unclear.
The way the story plays out gives very good testimony to older Western gays' fantasies of very young manipulative (or manipulable) Eastern rent-boys. In their media, they ignore that rent-boys of Eastern origin are usually straight, in reality it's actually very important to them, as they consider paying for sex with other gays unnecessary. They dream of a 'love story' in which they wield all material and emotional power, and that their partner is a much younger willful tool. Since this is (fortunately) unlikely with the more liberated gay generation of today, they project this fantasy on poor refugees. Consequently, most Eastern gay emigrants like myself are horrified by the idea of being identified as such. As soon as they have perfected their host country's language, they pretend to be from somewhere else, just to place as much distance as possible between them and this fetish.
If 'Eastern Boys' can be interesting for straight audiences, then because it shows how superficial gay men can be, and that stereotypes in our community can be just as pervasive and mean as those women are often subjected to. Be advised though that there is a decent amount of old skin on young skin - very telling as to the target audience of this film. If you want to get a taste of what the situation of rent-boys is really like, there are a number of documentaries which deal with the issue, such as 'Rent Boys' AKA 'Die Jungs vom Bahnhof Zoo' by Rosa von Praunheim (Germany) or 'Not Angels but Angels' by Wiktor Grodecki (Czech Republic). Be warned, it's very strong stuff.
'Eastern Boys', on the contrary, is a disrespectful charade. Western gays advocate their rights emphatically and draw attention to the injustice gay people face in Eastern Europe at times. That means they should respect that such a clichéd depiction is highly offensive to Eastern gays - and enforces stereotypes faced at home, namely that being gay is a sign of Western decadence, weakness and psychological disorder. In this film, it most certainly appears to be.
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