Stranger by the Lake: Murder, Sex, & Spicy Thrills! (Update)

Stranger by the Lake is a current New York Film Festival NYFF51: Official Selection.

Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk was live for the release of "Stranger by the Lake" at the Cannes Film Festival and attended the film screening. Vivian shared her experience about the film:

"Stranger by the Lake"

"The Cannes Film Festival is always next to one of the best events in the world, also an event that allows you to peak in other worlds you were never able to peak into. This is always a beautiful aspect that comes with the job and makes life very interesting and makes you up to date about what is going on in the world. Documentaries and feature films can both offer you this bonus. I often have said that there soon will be a time that all politicians and leaders in this world should get obligated film festival tickets from the major film festivals so that ignorance can never be an excuse while making big constitutional decisions. 

"This morning I saw the film 'L'Inconnu du Lac - Stranger by the Lake' which gave me this peaking gig and at the same time made me sit at the edge of my chair for different reasons. Next to my learning curve about another culture (the cruising sex gay in/on the woods beach culture), I found myself watching an 'at first sight simple story' that with a slow pace moved into a thriller with three murders committed at the end of "Stranger By The Lake". Needless to say an interesting film to watch today on the 'Day Against Homophobia' day, as you can see under our EYES IN Culture category on

"'Stranger by the Lake' has many erotic explicit male gay sex scenes, humorist elements and spicy thriller ingredients. But above all a look into a world many of us have not known before. The fact that the film director Alain Guiraudie has chosen a gay cruising beach side among a lake as the background of a murder story is a daring one and really works into making the story subtle and shocking at the same time. 

"After a murder has taken place in "Stranger By The Lake", none of the 'gay cruisers' are really worried about what had happened, as they stopped coming to the place or for days were not wondering why an empty towel with shoes and personal belongings of a stranger were left. This shows how easily a murderer could commit his crimes without being caught. Meanwhile, the background is playing a tremendous important role in the attractiveness of "Stranger By The Lake". 

"The director has managed to integrate the animosity of a culture in where sex is key and being private about it is the main ingredient of survival. As in a conversation with one cruiser it is revealed that a lot of those men have double lives. The fact that the main actor in this film had indirectly witnessed this murder, but did not do anything due to being seduced by the sex appeal and love of the killer says it all.

"Guiraudie has also mastered the element of 'the bystanders effect,' in "Stranger By The Lake" in where a bystander is watching a disaster (in this case a murder) happening, without stepping in with actions to help or rescue. The psychological effect it has on the bystander is amazing, instead of feelings of guilt, right after he portrayed feelings of love for the murderer, for its own sake denying that a murder ever took place. This is the ultimate act of ignoring feelings of guilt.

"Guiraudie has shown the audience in a profound way that the gay cruising culture in "Stranger By The Lake" and  seemed to have a high priority addictive sexual nature in where nothing else than being absorbed by that matters. A must see film! A one of a kind thriller that you will never easily forget. A real masterpiece!"

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Update from Cannes 2013 - L'Inconnu du Lac - Stranger by the Lake won the 2013 - Directing Prize of Un Certain Regard - Long métrage.

An Interview with Alain Guiraudie

For the first time Alain Guiraudie is in the Official Selection, with his fourth full-length feature. "Stranger By The Lake" marks a break with his previous films, which were more offbeat and fantastical, treating sexuality with a certain reserve. In "Stranger By The Lake", the French film-maker wanted to deal frontally with love as passion, with what it means to "have someone under your skin". The film takes places against a single backdrop, a gay cruising spot on the shores of a lake.

Which kind of cinema influences you?

I like to quote Fassbinder, Nanni Moretti, Almodovar, because they are film-makers who have meant a lot to me in terms of their individuality and energy and also in what they say. I also like going back to Bunuel, Glauber Rocha, to film-makers that I discovered as a teenager; it was with them that I discovered that an alternative cinema could exist.

Then, it's more difficult to explain but people like Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu, Bruno Dumont or Joao Pedro Rodrigues have a real influence on what I do. I'd find it hard to explain how it works, but what they do always lights me up inside a little (or a lot) and in a way I feel like I'm having a conversation with them.

Finally, as a film-maker, I'm not just influenced by the cinema. I always like to refer to Hergé, to the Famous Five, to Brecht, to the Pieds Nickelés, Pierre Desproges, Bernard Lavilliers...

 Can you tell us about your next project?

It's a film about a dairy taken over by a cooperative of farm workers and smallholders in the French countryside (I'd quite like it to be in the Lozère). And against this revolutionary background, there's a love story between two men.

What question would you like to ask the movie director of your choice?

I really would like to know what Léos Carax did to get Denis Lavant to stay so hard for so long in Holy Motors. And I'd also like to know what they moulded Vincent Gallo's prosthetic sex on in The Brown Bunny.

"Stranger by the Lake" Synopsis

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.

The Cast "Stranger by the Lake" exists of: 

Pierre de Ladonchamps, Christophe Paou, Patrick d'Assumçao, Jérôme Chappatte, Mathieu Vervisch, Gilbert Traina, Emmanuel Daumas, Sébastien Badachaoui, Gilles Guérin, François-Renaud Labarthe, Alain Guiraudie

Source and Images Courtesy: Cannes Film Festival

EYES IN Magazine's Editor-in-Chief, Vivian Van Dijk, was live at the Cannes Film Festival 2013! We are excited to bring you the latest news in innovative cinema. Please check our EYES IN Film category daily as it was updated with the festival happenings.

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