6.9/10
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Stranger by the Lake (2013)

L'inconnu du lac (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Thriller | 12 June 2013 (France)
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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.

Director:

Alain Guiraudie

Writer:

Alain Guiraudie
19 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pierre Deladonchamps ... Franck
Christophe Paou ... Michel
Patrick d'Assumçao ... Henri (as Patrick D'Assumçao)
Jérôme Chappatte Jérôme Chappatte ... Inspecteur Damroder
Mathieu Vervisch Mathieu Vervisch ... Eric
Gilbert Traina Gilbert Traina ... L'homme du mardi soir (as Gilbert Traïna)
Emmanuel Daumas Emmanuel Daumas ... Philippe
Sébastien Badachaoui Sébastien Badachaoui ... Le mari d'Eric
Gilles Guérin Gilles Guérin ... L'homme à femmes
François-Renaud Labarthe François-Renaud Labarthe ... Pascal Ramière (as François Labarthe)
Claude Bellelle Claude Bellelle ... Un naturiste
Slawomir Cieminski Slawomir Cieminski ... Un naturiste
Jean-Marie Crémier Jean-Marie Crémier ... Un naturiste
Bernard Delavaux Bernard Delavaux ... Un naturiste
Bernard German Bernard German ... Un naturiste
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Storyline

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 statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Best Director, Un Certain Regard at Cannes


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Les Films du Losange

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

12 June 2013 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

El desconocido del lago See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,599, 26 January 2014

Gross USA:

$325,196

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,131,241
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The characters of Frank (Pierre Deladonchamps) and Henri (Patrick d'Assumçao) are based on people Alain Guiraudie knew in real life. He said he also put a lot of himself into Frank. Michel (Christophe Paou) is completely a product of Alain Guiraudie's imagination and a fantasy - a sex god. See more »

Quotes

Henri: Are you married?
Franck: No.
Henri: But you live with a woman?
Franck: No, I'm gay.
Henri: You only sleep with men?
Franck: [smiles] Can we speak frankly?
Henri: It's unusual.
Franck: What is?
Henri: Guys who sleep together, sure, but they've got a wife or girlfriend. Guys who are gay - I mean, really gay - are pretty rare.
See more »

Connections

Spoofs Forbidden Games (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bleak thriller puts the cock back in Hitchcock
31 January 2014 | by barkingechoacrosswavesSee all my reviews

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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