›› Beyond the Walls - Hors les Murs ‹‹

a film by David Lambert.

2012 | 96 mins | Belgium - Canada - France.

a beautifully crafted study of affairs of the heart.

Dave says:

This assured debut feature from Belgian writer and director David Lambert vibrates with an emotional intensity that shakes the screen to its foundation. Then again, it that of any surprise when a drunken Paulo (Matila Malliarakis) finds friendly Albanian bartender Ilir (Guillaume Gouix) giving him a bed for the night. Only Paulo wants more than just shelter from Ilir, a fact that his girlfriend Anka (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) is all too aware of, duly kicking Paulo out of her apartment and thereafter into the arms, if not the life of Ilir. Forced together despite Ilir's initial hesitation, the two soon grow closer, along the way rejoicing in a sensual world that neither knows much about. Only is their love set to last the test of time?

For that is what hits you here; that of two men embracing their sexuality, if not love itself. Only and in as much as this work speaks of commitment of the "only yours - forever" kind, events naturally conspire to force the loving pair apart. The result is a film in two acts, with the first joyously bright as the spark of sexual attraction grows ever stronger, culminating in a passionate scene of man-on-man lip-service that frankly is more of the love at first bite variety. Only look below the surface of Ilir's tough guy persona and you'll find Lambert hard at work, carefully reversing the narrative's "you're all I've got left" line, even if he's far too economical with the facts as to the events that take place in the less dynamic, if all the more poignant second act. Thankfully, between then and close-of-play, there's a series of lush touches to be savoured, including the vibrant on-screen chemistry between pretty boy Malliarakis and Gouix, as the daddy of the piece.

All of which makes for a beautifully crafted study of affairs of the heart. Sure, there's pain along the way, in this instance both emotional and in Paulo's case, physical. But that said, this accomplished feature in many ways reminds me of the Sébastien Lifshitz film Presque Rien, given this is but a hauntingly touching cinematic dissertation on missed opportunities, personal regrets and of a future ever wondering - what could have been?

In short, this is same-sex love personified; that of an intense story of the love between two men that's played refreshingly honest, right down to a novel way of deciding who's on top for the night. Need more be said?

›› available as part of the PECCADILLO PICTURES catalogue: 26th August, 2013 / UK.
›› revised: Friday, 31st March, 2022.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - from the waist up | Overall - file under ... 4 stars

›› copyright © 2022 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com ‹‹
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