Robin Campillo is better known as a writer, preparing the scenarios for Heading South (2005) and The Class (2008) and as co-writer on Foxfire (2012). Campillo second feature film as both writer and director has been described as ‘a tender love story coupled with a hide and seek thriller’. Inspired by the real story of a man who adopted his boyfriend Eastern Boys (2013) is divided into four chapters the first entitled ‘Her Majesty the Street’ is set in and around the Gare du Nord Station in Paris. We witness a large group of Eastern Europeans, including teenagers and young men up to around 25 years old soliciting for custom from the older men that hang around the stations concourse, the middle aged Daniel is one such man. He meets Marek, a good-looking youngster who he immediately desires, agrees a price and makes arrangements for him to come to his high rise flat the following evening. ‘This Party of Which I Am the Hostage’ is the second chapter where Marek does turn up at Daniel’s luxurious flat but not on his own and Daniel first meets the leader of the ‘gang’, Boss a rather scary character that he finds mesmerising and enchanting at the same time. Tension builds during the invasion of his apartment, but although provoked he does not call the police, aware of the possibility of blackmail or exposure of his sexual preferences. Therefore he has to accept the invasion and join the party. The final two chapters are headed ‘What We Make Together’ and ‘Halt Hotel’ that deal with the aftermath of the flat invasion and I would not want to spoil your enjoyment of the movie by revealing too much, but suffice to say changes occur between Daniel and Marek’s relationship which the director described as “love moving from one place to another place over a period of time” and there is of cause the bonus of an exciting conclusion.
|....where Daniel meets Marek.|
Daniel is played by Olivier Rabourdin, who appeared in Of Gods and Men (2010) Midnight in Paris (2011) and Grace of Monaco (2014), a brave role for a well-known actor, which others had already turned down. His character starts the film as a predator and then becomes a victim but is essentially human. It took Campillo six months to find the two main Russian actors Kiill Emelyanov who plays Marek and Daniil Darcque as the gang leader Boss. Shooting in the station is deliberately made to look like CCTV footage but most of the film is shot away from tourist Paris and the director used his own apartment for the invasion/party scene.
In an interview Robin Campillo states “the film does not set out to lecture its audience or pass on a message other than at some time in your life you have to reinvent yourselves and take a risk and become someone different, you make up your own mind”. With a Techno soundtrack that gets darker during the party, the movie involves immigration and the political situation in France with the influx of Eastern European migrants, which the film does not view too favourable on the whole but does give a wee bit of an interesting insight into Marek’s background. An admirable gay themed drama with a difference.