Stranger By The Lake (2013)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.5

Original title:  L’Inconnu Du Lac

France2013.  Les Films du Worso, Arte France Cinéma, M141 Productions, Films de Force Majeure, Cinémage 7, Soficinéma 9, Arte France, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, CNC.  Screenplay by Alain Guiraudie.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Production Design by , , .  Costume Design by Roy Genty, Francois-Renaud Labarthe.  Film Editing by .  

Quite simply one of the sexiest and most intense movies you’ll ever see, with a dangerously provocative exploration of the connection between violence and gay male desire (without the trashy tabloid flavor of Cruising to ruin it).  Franck is a single man without current employment who spends the majority of his summer days on a beach frequented mainly by nude male sunbathers.  This is where the entire movie takes place and where, day after day, he finds men to tryst in the bushes with, at the same time making friends with a fully clothed, unperturbed visitor who attends the beach as often as Franck does and appears to just be there for the quiet.  Also frequenting the scene is a handsome man who captures our hero’s fancy, a stacked sex god with a Tom Selleck moustache and mischief in his eye.  Their paths take time to cross, but one night, when Franck stays particularly late at the beach, and in one of the film’s most hypnotically exquisite sequences, he witnesses the object of his affection drown another man in the lake; the next day, he is even more ready to get his rocks off with him.  Of course, when you see the head-spinning atmosphere of easy sex and silent manipulations in which this film resides, complete with some pretty hot action including graphic money shots, you won’t have too much trouble understanding the mess that our hero wants to get himself into either.  Smoothly directed, beautifully acted, a mesmerizing film with a creepy mood you won’t shake off for days.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2013


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