From The Edge Of The City

**1/2

Reviewed by: Trinity

From The Edge Of The City was originally conceived as a 30-minute documentary and some of this still shows in the finished feature film. Director Constantinos Giannaris wanted to explore the lives of some of the youths in Menidi a Greek-Russian dominated suburb on the edge of Athens.

He followed the boys to find out what they did and what their lives were like, and used this as the basis of the film. The documentary strand is still apparent, with an unseen interviewer (in real life, Giannaris) asking questions through the course of the film.

The film feels like a music video, starting with a pumping club beat over fast-paced visuals. It shows the lives of a group of boys who have found themselves outside of society, unable to fit in. These young adults go about their lives as manual labourers, rent boys and thieves. But at heart is a desire to make a better life for themselves. Whether this is through love, work or pimping and prostitution doesn't really matter, because it really doesn't matter. This film is not just an attack on the circumstances that cause the youths problems nor is it an essay in sociology. Instead it's really a story about friendship and betrayal of that trust, a fairly common theme of most youth centred dramas.

Little things immediately establish this in the same territory as Go: the reciting of the Lords Prayer before taking drugs or the dream sequences located in a golden-yellow parched field. But this film is not as fun as "Go" -- its characters are not going to be able to escape their situation easily and play out a more realistic version of teenage life.

From The Edge Of The City was shot for just 100,000 and all the youths were not actors, but the people that Giannaris met as he was researching his documentary. Giannaris has found some wonderfully honest talent in them, but unfortunately tries to marry this to MTV style editing and broad-brush characterisation so any glimmer of depth is wiped away. A pity, as this could have been a truly powerful film.

Reviewed on: 08 Jul 2007
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Story of marginalised teens in Athens.

Director: Constantine Giannaris

Writer: Constantine Giannaris

Starring: Simela Chartomatsidi, Emilios Chilakis, Vasias Eleftheriadis, Constantine Giannaris, Kostas Gogos, Panayiotis Hartomatzidis, Savas Iliadis, Aristidis Ioannidis, Nikos Kamontos, Olga Karagiannidou, Stavros Karasavvidis

Year: 1998

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Greece, IMDb Greece section

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