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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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
The film takes place over exactly 10 consecutive days and each day is explicitly defined. See more »
Are you married?
But you live with a woman?
No, I'm gay.
You only sleep with men?
Can we speak frankly?
Guys who sleep together, sure, but they've got a wife or girlfriend. Guys who are gay - I mean, really gay - are pretty rare.
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I found 'Stranger by the Lake' an odd mix. On the one hand, I loved the stillness it captured. Yet another beautiful film in the NZ film festival, some of the shots of the idyllic beach setting were breathtaking. There were times when the camera lost our protagonist, and simply explored the setting. At times this meant capturing the voyeuristic nature of the cruising context, but other times it simply panned off to take in the beauty of he surroundings.
But on the other hand, it was the strange overlay of the thriller narrative with a investigator character who must have played some symbolic role. I couldn't understand how he worked in the world of the film. He roamed like someone who didn't belong in Guiraudie's realm and was more than just a stark contrast to the other characters, he was a sore thumb. The thriller element worked on the erotic level, but not on the police procedural.
It was the attraction and intrigue generated from the intense gazes across the beach that made the dynamic so fascinating. The layers of attraction were peeled away, and I found myself feeling sorry for Franck as he searched for a connection in such a wrong wrong place. The centrals couple's second swimming scene was a worthy centrepiece: the tension in preparing for death, attempting futilely to form a bond that is mistaken for love. A sad, and entrancing tale.
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