In his first feature directing debut, Belgian screenwriter David Lambert brings us a carefully crafted film that seems initially to follow closely in the footsteps of dramas like Andrew Haigh’s WEEKEND and Ira Sach’s KEEP THE LIGHTS ON.
While drinking heavily with friends at a trendy wine bar in Brussels, blond and delicate Paulo (Matila Malliarakis) engages in some heavy eye contact with the heavyset Albanian bartender, Ilir (Guillaume Gouix). Eventually going home together, they end up in bed and thus starts an intensive procession of hookups.
Bisexual Paulo’s seamstress girlfriend, Anka (Melissa Desormeaux Poulin), while not completely oblivious to the sexual forays of her errant boyfriend, becomes upset by his current exploits and kicks him out of their apartment. Paulo, homeless, ends up at Ilir’s, and although the older Ilir has reservations at first, he allows Paulo to stay.
What follows is an idyllic period for the couple, only to be sadly curtailed when Ilir leaves for a weekend and never comes back. Paulo, struggling to keep it together, first turns to Anka, but finds her less than responsive, so he ends up in a relationship with the middle-aged owner of a sex shop (David Salles).
BEYOND THE WALLS is a film that beautifully portrays a complex and realistic relationship between to seemingly very different men.