In the film Stranger by the Lake during the summer, on a secluded lake-side surrounded by hills and forests several men mostly naturists and gay, come to sunbathe. The woods behind the lake are the venue for many promiscuous and short-lived sexual encounters. Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) sunbathes daily and gets to know the newly separated Henri (Patrick d’Assumçao) and also Michel (Christophe Paou), to whom he is attracted. Franck soon finds out that Michel is a murderer when, one evening, he sees him drowning Pascal, his current partner. Franck soon falls passionately in love with Michel, despite his fear that Michel will discover that Franck knows his secret.
When Pascal’s body is found the police arrive to investigate. Franck maintains that he saw nothing out of the ordinary on the night in question and his relationship with Michel continues, although only at the lakeside and despite Henri’s warnings.
When Franck is swimming, Henri tells Michel that he knows he is the murderer and the police will realise eventually. When Franck returns, Michel and Henri are nowhere to be found. While searching the woods he finds the dying Henri and sees Michel leaving the area. Franck is scared and so hides in the woods where he stays until nightfall. Michel walks past several times calling for him. When he eventually decides to answer him, his desire overriding his fear, he calls for Michel to no avail.
“Beautifully crafted, sinister, frightening, erotic and thought-provoking, Alain Guiraudie’s multi-faceted Cannes triumph is already one of the most provocative, intriguing films of the year.”
— Liz Beardsworth, Empire
“The mystery may be resolved, but the suspense and uncertainty remain. And so, Guiraudie ends his film on a cold, almost cruel note of existential solitude that just might, if you let it, break your heart.”
—Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine Vulture
Did You Know?
The casting call was very clear that the lead characters would be totally naked for almost the entire film Stranger by the Lake and so many actors did not turn up for the casting. The lead actors Pierre Deladonchamps and Christophe Paou knew when they were cast that would be nude for 90% of their screen time so the shooting went smoothly. The move was shot completely outdoors and the entire story takes place outdoors. The only location in the film was the lake and its surroundings.
Alain Guiraudie briefly toyed with the idea of casting porn actors in the two lead roles of Frank and Michel but he did not like their acting, so he cast professional actors instead. Review our Gay Themed Films Here
All pictures reproduced courtesy of Peccadillo Pictures