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2,123 Ratings

Stranger by the Lake

L'inconnu du lac

Directed by Alain Guiraudie
France, 2013
Drama, LGBTQ+, Thriller


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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Stranger by the Lake Directed by Alain Guiraudie
That Alain Guiraudie’s plein soleil thriller is a stunning formal accomplishment should be self-evident to anyone who sees it. What’s more surprising is that a film that so insistently links sex and death can offer so much sheer pleasure—a pleasure absent either the masochistic moralizing of the Michael Haneke variety or the glibly nihilistic glee of Gone Girl.
January 05, 2015
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Guiraudie brings the aesthetics, politics, and psychology of gay hook-up culture to life. Start with the fact that these guys are secluded from the rest of society. The chats are casual and coded as men feel each other out. The biological process becomes a social one (as men feel each other out). Most of all Guiraudie dramatizes the self-destructive carelessness that comes with sexual desire.
December 19, 2014
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Stranger by the Lake is perhaps less of a headscratcher than some of Guiraudie’s earlier work, in that there is no ambiguity about the characters’ location or identity. Yet it shimmers with that intoxicating sun-on-the-water allure that might make someone not quite themselves. A large part of the film’s effectiveness is down to its roster of self-imposed formal limitations, which concentrate the attention into a kind of conceptual and narrative tunnel vision.
February 21, 2014
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