Beyond the Walls
Hors les Murs

DIRECTOR: David Lambert

Depicting a fraught but passionate relationship between two difficult men, David Lambert’s first feature expertly charts the course of love—from the heights of infatuation to the more mundane difficulties of day-to-day life. In a Brussels wine bar, young Paolo is getting drunk with his girlfriend Anka and some friends and starts flirting with the bartender, an older Albanian musician named Ilir. They go home together and after some initial confusion, the youngster confesses his desire to be with Ilir and gets booted out of the flat he shares with Anka. The two men move in together, but cohabitation brings its own challenges—they barely know one another, there’s a sizable age gap between them, and they’re basically broke.

By homing in on the pair and their connection, Lambert’s film resembles other recent, nuanced portraits of gay relationships, such as Weekend or Keep the Lights On, while maintaining its own specificity. There’s a raw need in Paolo’s character that verges on subservience, especially when Ilir leaves for a period of time and shackles the younger man with a modern chastity belt. When this departure turns into a disappearance/drug bust and Paolo is forced to rely on his own resources, the relationship perforce takes a turn for the worse. It is some time before Paolo and Ilir meet up again, but when they do, the complexities of this particular relationship (and same-sex partnerships in general) are laid out in all of their messy but love-filled glory.

— ROD ARMSTRONG

In French with English subtitles.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F100

Co-presented by:
Alliance Francaise de San Francisco

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