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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. Daniel, a discreet man in his late fifties has his eye on one of them - Marek. One afternoon, Daniel gathers his courage and speaks to him. The young man agrees to come visit Daniel the following day, at his place. However the next day, when the doorbell rings, Daniel 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.
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. 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).
'Eastern Boys', on the contrary, is a disrespectful charade. Western gays advocate their rights emphatically. They should respect that such a cliché 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. We are people, not your objects of desire.
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