Summertime. A cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake. Franck falls in love with Michel, an attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man. Franck knows this but wants to live out his passion anyway.
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After a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a gay club. Just before closing time he picks up Glen but what's expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special.
Young and handsome Sergio works the night shift as a trash collector in Lisbon, Portugal. He can't force himself to connect with his pretty female co-worker Fatima, who displays an avid ... See full summary »
João Pedro Rodrigues
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Franck, a fit gay man, seeks love at a lakeside gay cruising beach. Among the mostly pudgy nude sunbathers, he befriends Henri, a depressed middle-aged bi-sexual who enjoys the quiet but accepts Franck's company. When Michel appears, Franck finally spots a man he'd like to know sexually. Unfortunately, he also spots him drowning his gay lover but opts not to tell anyone in order to consider having a relationship with this handsome yet remorseless killer.Written by
I enjoyed "Stranger by the Lake" very much on several different levels. It features a compelling story line with plenty of suspense heightened by excellent acting and lovely, sensitive cinematography. However, this picture isn't for the faint of heart, so homophobes and prudes will want to give it a wide berth.
The plot revolves around a series of inexplicable decisions made by Franck, a handsome, 30ish vegetable seller who regularly visits a gay beach and cruising ground. The beach is inhabited by a largely unvarying selection of men who are completely indifferent to their "neighbors" except for one highly specific service that they can, and often do, render one another in the nearby woods. The men exploit and are exploited with a ruthlessness that I found stunning, familiar and sad.
This is a ground-breaking film in at least two ways. First, it is the most explicitly and unapologetically erotic art-house movie since Oshima's "In the Realm of the Senses," except that in this case all of the on-screen sex is gay. Second, it is really not a "gay film" in the sense that it is actually a story about human callousness and depravity. In other words, the gay characters and gay sex are almost incidental to the true message being conveyed in this movie: that human beings can be truly, and quite casually, inhuman toward each other. This is in contrast to many other "gay themed" titles where the "gayness" of the story line is the most important element in the film's identity. One could easily make a straight version of "Stranger by the Lake" and it would work equally well. Nonetheless, there is most definitely a certain "je ne sais quoi" in "Stranger by the Lake" that a heterosexual picture would be quite unequipped to deliver upon.
If you like your movies strong, suspenseful, lyrical and sleazy you will want to make a point of seeing "Stranger by the Lake."
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