From director David Lambert, Beyond the Walls is a wonderfully acted and taut romantic drama about two outsiders whose quick-moving affair faces some serious complications.
Paolo (Matila Malliarakis) is a gangly, long-haired man-boy, older than he looks. He lives with his stern, untrusting girlfriend, Anka (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin) who is sure he will soon give in to his homosexual urges.
Rugged Albanian-immigrant bartender Ilir (Guillaume Gouix) works in a neighborhood bar. After a night of partying with friends, Ilir takes a drunken Paolo to his place to recover. A sexual relationship begins, but Paolo’s girl, tired of his infidelities, throws him out.
Now, the two young men slowly open up and begin an intense, romantic affair. When one is arrested for drug possession and imprisoned – and the other is tempted into a relationship with another man – the stress threatens their nascent love.
A serious drama about intimacy, separation, manipulation and trust, Beyond the Walls is made all the more remarkable by the two lead actors’ positively fearless performances.