Friday, January 8, 2016

Stranger by the Lake

2013 French Feature
Alternate Title: L'inconnu du lac

Cast: Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou, Patrick D'Assumçao, Jérôme Chappatte, Mathieu Vervisch, Emmanuel Daumas and François Labarthe
Director/Writer: Alain Guiraudie

At a secluded, lakeside cruising spot for men, a young man witnesses a shocking act but then meets and falls for the handsome perpetrator.


  • Internet Movie Database: 6.9/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 93% / Audience: 65%
  • Metacritic - Critics: 82% / Audience: 6.5%
  • OMG rating: 8/10

  • DVD/Blu-ray: Available


  • Cannes Film Festival Queer Palm Award and Un Certain Regard - Directing Prize.
  • César Award for Most Promising Actor (Deladonchamps).
  • Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Dorian Award nominations for LGBTQ Film of the Year and Foreign Language Film of the Year.
  • Movie Dearest Award for Foreign Film of the Year.
  • Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Non-US Release.

  • Writer/director Alain Guiraudie based the setting of Stranger by the Lake on a real lakeside cruising ground he knew of, but filming took place at another location deemed sunnier. He has said that he tried to write a heterosexual version of this story in the scripting stages but it didn't work, as he felt the story needed to be a story about men and the two leads needed to be equal to each other in every way. Guiraudie has also said that this was a very personal film for him because he was able to directly address his sexuality on screen in an explicit manner. Guiraudie has a cameo in the film as a nude sunbather.
  • Casting notices for the film explicitly stated that the lead characters would be totally nude for most of the entire film. Actual pornographic actors were briefly considered for the two leads because of this.
  • Contains unsimulated sex, which was filmed using body doubles because the director thought it would be asking too much of the professional actors to have actual sex on camera; he also felt that they wouldn't be able to achieve strong enough erections. Scenes of actual penetration were cut as the body doubles refused to do them without condoms. Although several hardcore scenes were filmed, only two remain in the final cut.
  • The entire film takes place outdoors and features only natural sounds (recorded on location) with no musical score.
  • Right before the film's release in France, its posters (see above) were censored and removed by the conservative mayors of two cities (Saint-Cloud and Versailles) after a few people complained about the gay kiss in the foreground and an ambiguous scene in the background which might represent an act of fellatio.

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