Sasha (Papadopoulos) and his friends are Pontian immigrants whose families left Russia for Greece in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Workshy and crime-friendly, the troupe's largely nocturnal lives are spent roller-skating, breaking into cars, smoking grass, popping pills and, worse, hawking their wares as rent boys.
While From The Edge Of The City is clearly fiction, Giannaris' unrelentingly bleak depiction of the oppressive lives of a group of youths on the outskirts of Athens has some rooting in documentary, with most of the participants being first-time actors discovered on the streets by the director.
Sickened by the rent boy existence, Sasha takes up the older Giorgos' (Dimitris Papoulidis), a preening pimp, offer to chaperone a beautiful, if desperate Russian hooker, Natasia (played to ice queen precision by Theodora Tzimou). Wide-eyed 17 year-old romantic that he is, he falls in love with her. Naturally, when the older pimp comes looking for his charge in order to sell her on to a pair of out-of-town gangsters, Sasha is faced with the consequences of protecting Natasia.
From The Edge Of The City dabbles in atmospheric film techniques, but for the most part, bleak realism is the order of the day. In this world, the inhabitants are less human traffic and more human cattle.
Even when the nasty side-effects of their lifestyle begin to domino through the characters, From The Edge Of The City avoids moralistic predictability and remains a brave, uncompromising look at a hellish counter-culture.
Reviewed by Tom Doyle