Alan Guiraudie

review stranger by the lake

Opening with scenes of graphic full-frontal male nudity and proceeding towards seemingly unsimulated depictions of sexual acts on occasion, Alan Guiraudie‘s Stranger by the Lake certainly begins as it means to continue. If the initial glimpses of naked men on a makeshift French nude beach act as an opening statement for the film, over the course of the runtime this frank imagery serves to remind that nudity for nudity’s sake does not necessarily constitute good cinema in of itself, in spite of the film’s many other qualities. Our protagonist, Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) finds himself quite literally flirting with danger when a trip to his local gay hookup place, a secluded beach area next to a lake, sees him meet and take a liking to the moustachioed Michel (Christophe Paou). It all seems cutesy and (relatively) innocent until late one night Franck catches Michel drowning one of his sexual partners, yet in the throes of passion nevertheless still finds himself irrevocably drawn to him. Soon enough, the cops come a-calling, and Franck and Michel’s burgeoning, uneasy romance becomes a whole lot more complicated.

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