Eastern Boys, by Robin Campillo
Equal parts novelistic thriller and reflection on love and paternity, Eastern Boys lets Robin Campillo hone a unique gaze wherein the social chronicle takes on breath of lyricism.
Robin Campillo’s career began with a fruitful collaboration. Alongside Laurent Cantet, with whom he co-authors and edits the majority of films, he traces the contours of a cinema where the approach to reality remains linked to a taste for powerful narratives.
In 2004, They Came Back (“Les Revenants”), his first feature film, went unnoticed in the theatres, but gave rise to a major television series, broadcast on Canal +.
It would then take 10 years for Robin Campillo to return to direction and take off with Eastern Boys (2013) and the highly praised 120 Beats per Minute (“120 battements par minute”), winner of the Jury’s Grand Prize at Cannes in 2017.
Eastern Boys takes place in four parts. The film opens on a cruising session at the Gare du Nord in which Daniel, the Parisian businessmen, solicits Marek, an illegal immigrant from Ukraine. The second part shows a strange ceremony in which Marek, accompanied by his friend Boss and his gang, loot Daniel's apartment.
However, after this brutal evening, the young man returns alone to the scene of the crime and proposes that he enter into a paid relationship with his victim. This intense and ambiguous bond will free them, in a final chapter which takes the form of a thriller.
A starting point
In many ways, Eastern Boys marks the beginnings of a method that Robin Campillo would go on to refine brilliantly in 120 Beats per Minute. After finding his two main actors, Kirill Emelyanov (Marek) and Daniil Vorobjev (Boss), in obscure Russian films, the filmmaker chose to improvise many scenes with them in order to redraw the characters and rewrite the story in small steps.
The film also marks the beginning of his collaboration with musician Arnaud Rebotini, whose ethereal ambiance permeates each sequence.
Rewards & validation
Before Eastern Boys Robin Campillo was an esteemed scriptwriter and editor. With this work, he gained the acceptance as a major director that had eluded him with his first film.
A three-time winner of César Awards, notably in the Best Film and Best Director categories, he won the prize for best film in the Horizons section of the Venice Festival in 2013.
From the United States to the United Kingdom, international critics welcomed his second feature film with enthusiasm, praising the filmmaker's captivating vision.
Eastern Boys (2013) is distributed internationally by the Institut français.
The Institut français offers a catalogue of over 2,500 titles, enabling the French cultural network and its partners to screen French films around the world.