Paulo, a young pianist, meets Ilir, a bartender and bass guitar player originally from Albania. They become lovers. Confronted by his girlfriend Anka, Paulo finds himself out on the street....
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Paulo, a young pianist, meets Ilir, a bartender and bass guitar player originally from Albania. They become lovers. Confronted by his girlfriend Anka, Paulo finds himself out on the street. Despite Ilir's misgivings, Paulo moves in with him. One day, when Paulo promises that he will love Ilir for the rest of his life, Ilir leaves the city and doesn't return. A few days later, Paulo finds out that Ilir is in jail, and their relationship faces unexpected challenges.Written by
Outside the Walls (the correct translation of the title) there's not much freedom
According to the director, this is his "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg", a film about what happens when a madly-in-love couple is forcibly separated by a bad turn of events. But it's really much more than that.
It's about the power dynamics in a relationship, and how they shift over time. It's about dominance and submission. It's about making choices. It's about freedom or the lack thereof.
What keeps it from being overly ponderous (though it does raise lots of questions) is way it focuses on the specifics of a rather dysfunctional relationship between a needy, waif-like, seemingly helpless young man desperate to be taken care of, and a seemingly more together toughened-by- life older man who at first doesn't take him seriously but then falls hard for his boyish, coquettish charm.
And then they're separated and they and we discover that they're not entirely who they seem to be and everything shifts.
The cinematography is suitably gritty and sharp, while the acting of the two leads is superb. These are very flawed characters but we don't care and we fall in love with them anyway, the way they fall in love with each other.
The ending is realistic and a bit sad, but not tragic. We all come away a little wiser, but just a little, as this is not Hollywood, after all, thank god.
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