Eden Is West (‘Eden à l’Ouest’)

DRAMA; 1hr 50min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Riccardo Scamarcio, Juliane Köhler

Paradise lost: Köhler and Scamarcio

Desperation gives men courage and no one needs it more than illegal immigrant Elias (Scamarcio), who washes up from a ship in the Aegean Sea onto the shores of an exclusive resort, Eden Club Paradise. Elias is headed for Paris and a presumably better life. He scurries beneath the resort radar for a while with the happy accident of cunning and luck. And because he is handsome, with the soulful watchfulness of a man with much to hide, he soon takes the fancy of a German guest (Köhler). It can’t last — nothing in the life of a fugitive can — and before long Elias is on the road, making his lively way through a new and erratic world.


This could have been a dark and stormy saga but director and co-writer Costa-Gavras (Music Box, Missing) keeps Eden hopeful even as Elias feels the heat (hint: much running is involved). Have faith, Gavras seems to be saying, and my capricious universe will provide. And so it does, in the end, in a magical, curious way. But mon Dieu, what an uphill run.