Stranger by the Lake


An idyllic gay cruising spot in rural France provides the backdrop for Alain Guiraudie’s mesmerizing mix of explicit sexual coupling and old-school Hitchcockian suspense. Boyishly handsome Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) spends several languid summer days lounging around a lakeside beach populated by men of all shapes and sizes. He’s most attracted to the muscular, mustachioed Michel (Christophe Paou), who has Franck all but proposing on bended knee after a day of sexual frolic. But Franck’s desire turns to unease when, late one night, he witnesses an act of shocking violence and finds himself drawn into an enticing web of danger that may put his life in jeopardy. As sexual intrigue turns to paranoia, Franck must contemplate the unthinkable: could this sinewy Adonis actually be a murderer? This enigmatic meditation on love, sex and murderous desire is, on the surface, a deeply unconventional thriller. But it’s also something much more – with its graphically un-simulated couplings, rigorously composed widescreen frames, eerily lush landscapes and empathic understanding of gay culture in all its multi-faceted shades, the film also feels like a queer-cinema landmark. (Dir. by Alain Guiraudie, 2013, France, in French with subtitles, 97 mins., Not Rated/Contains explicit sexual situations) Digital
Festivals: Cannes, Toronto, Chicago, New York Film Festival

Support for this film provided by Alliance Française of Tucson and SAAF