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l'inconnu du lac ( stranger by the lake )

Alain Guiraudie | 2013 | O.V. French | S.T. English | France | 97min | color

Synopsis :

Summertime, a beach tucked away at a woodland lake, a world of male encounters. Looks and bodies are quietly exchanged. Everyone has his place in this near-mythical site, resembling an idyllic micro-society. For Franck, two men he meets here will change his life. First Henri, a fortysomething with flagging energy, observing the scene from a certain distance. Not exactly gay, but no longer really straight, he treasures his time alone in the sun. Together he and Franck build a tender and earnest relationship. At least until Franck falls under the spell of Michel, whose beauty feels as irresistible as it is menacing. With L’inconnu du lac (English title: Stranger by the Lake), Alain Guiraudie reinvents his approach to cinema and displays an impressive economy in his use of figurative elements. Unity of setting: the beach and its surrounding brushwood, shrouded in secrecy. Unity of costume: complete or near nudity. And the mounting tension of the camera, with recurring near-identical framings that vary only slightly with the passing days, providing clues to the film’s developing mystery. For suddenly the languid idyll has given way to a harrowing thriller. Through Franck, we discover the unknown facets of our desire, leaving daylight behind and delving into the night and the predator within. A masterpiece.