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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars haunting and bold film
Alain Guiraudie's film is a challenging but memorable experience, and bold in more than one sense. There is the graphic sexual content, which seems to push the boundaries of what can be shown in commercial cinema, but more shocking than this is its Genet-like exploration of a character who seems drawn to danger and gets caught up with someone to whom he feels a very...
Published 16 months ago by schumann_bg

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars good heavens no
When 'straights' make a film about gays, the first thing they do is appear before the cameras months in advance insisting in many ways that of course they are not themselves gay, good heavens no. None of the principals - actors, director, producer etc - are gay and none of them knows anything about the gay scene. As well as being tedious and empty as a film, it is...
Published 6 months ago by Giles Penfold


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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars haunting and bold film, 27 Feb. 2014
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Stranger by the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
Alain Guiraudie's film is a challenging but memorable experience, and bold in more than one sense. There is the graphic sexual content, which seems to push the boundaries of what can be shown in commercial cinema, but more shocking than this is its Genet-like exploration of a character who seems drawn to danger and gets caught up with someone to whom he feels a very strong attraction to in spite of the very real risk this represents. Commercially, it is also bold in that it has no music from the first frame to the last; in fact there are no opening credits, even. Guiraudie shows the idyllic quality of the lakeside setting in hot weather, with the light varying at different times and acting as a clock in the film; in fact it is the viewer who becomes a sort of sundial - which is quite important in the thriller-like context that is set up. This beauty is set against the world of gay cruising and the electric current of desire, which different characters deal with in different ways - it is like a microcosm of life but shot through this narrow prism, as we never leave the lakeside or surrounding woods, nor are there any female characters. Aside from the main character, Franck, and the object of his obsession, Michel, there is a third main character, Henri, who seems to stand aside from it all, enigmatic, kindly (you sense), and hard to fathom. It is he who gives the film its most memorable aspect, perhaps. Above all, it is a highly interesting piece of filmmaking, very original (although Guiraudie has mined a similar theme in his other film Ce Vieux Reve Qui Bouge, 2001). It is a bit like Chabrol's Le Boucher in its rural setting, theme of a serial killer and slow pacing, crossed perhaps with Cruising, set in a concrete world that is poles apart. There is also something of Genet's moral compass, as said above, and a nod towards another French film from the 80s, Claire Devers Noir et Blanc, about a sado-masochistic relationship, that has never resurfaced on DVD. As happens to a key figure in this film near the beginning ...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars and consequently would suffer the same fate as many other excellent foreign films by having its' story obliterated by the ..., 3 July 2014
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When I first saw this movie in the cinema I believed it would be dramatically cut in the DVD version due to the graphic adult content, and consequently would suffer the same fate as many other excellent foreign films by having its' story obliterated by the UK censors, but I was surprised to discover that the disc version is absolutely faithful to the original cinema presentation, so full marks for the enlightened response to this excellent French thriller by the BBFC.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly explicit gay movie-yet not porn, 22 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Stranger by the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
This film explores the varying intensity of relationships between men who meet up at the lake in Southern France. It is a a quiet spot, a beautiful sunny location and no more than about a dozen men sit far apart on the stoney beach. The entire movie is shot on this lake shore. The nakedness is total and close up but necessary to display the stark reality of these locations which occur throughout the world yet seen by few. Nothing coy here.
The men glance at each other especially when a new one arrives from the car park nearby. Quiet signals of interest (or not) are exchanged and those who want a quick fix walk casually into the nearby wood followed by the camera quite often to engage in physical intimacies.
There are essentially about 5 characters in the film - a young gay man (Franck) in search of lots of sex but much more, another man (Michel) in search of sex at all costs ( and I mean ALL), a straight divorcee (Henri) who spends his days yearning for an escape from his loneliness without being physical about the form the escape takes, there is a young guy (Pachal) who pays the ultimate price for his jealousy and there is a police inspector who is there seeking hopelessly to unravel the mess which slowly unfolds as the story reaches its climax.
Lots of graphic close up gay sex- these parts were performed by doubles. The ending is thrilling - of Hitchcockian dimension. The final battle occurs in the young man (Franck's) mind between intense desire to find Michel again and the risk of death itself in a darkened forest.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars good heavens no, 7 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Stranger by the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
When 'straights' make a film about gays, the first thing they do is appear before the cameras months in advance insisting in many ways that of course they are not themselves gay, good heavens no. None of the principals - actors, director, producer etc - are gay and none of them knows anything about the gay scene. As well as being tedious and empty as a film, it is saturated with homophobic clichés. To confirm all this, the dvd has foolishly included a protracted interview with the director, whose banality, self-regard, pretentiousness and limited imagination are all painfully exposed. Avoid.
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36 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet revenge!, 28 Dec. 2013
By 
J. Martin (New York) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stranger by the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
Ah, sweet revenge! This movie is payback to every gay man who ever had to sit (and who hasn't?) through 20 minutes of graphic straight sex for every 2 minutes of chaste gay sex in an American movie. There's not a heaving breast anywhere!

It's an all-male cast, and they're nearly always naked - REALLY naked, not the coy, fig-leaf male nakedness 99% of American movies (even the gay movies) dole out as if it were toxic (in contrast to female nakedness, which they shove in our faces all day long). The only problem here is the shaved pubic hair, which is a HUGE turn-off.

I thought the creepy, shaved-pubes look was restricted to gay-for-pay porn stars and West Hollywood gym bunnies, so it makes me really sad to see it even in rural France where this movie is set. The creepy hairless epidemic must be sweeping the whole civilized world. They say circumcision is a crime and then they shave off the pubes! It's crazy.

ANYWAY, there's lots of dick, and lots of sex in this movie, and it's not always simulated. Some will call this porn, but it's not. Some will call it a thriller, but anybody expecting white knuckles will be badly disappointed.

There's a murderer, but there are no big shocks, no frantic chases, nothing out of Hollywood's bag of stock thriller tricks. The movie is as languid and easy as the warm summer days it depicts (but sometimes it does get a little scary in the woods after dark!)

There are no sets, no special effects, and not one note of music. The whole movie takes place outdoors, in and around a beautiful man-made lake (lac de Sainte-Croix) in the foothills of the Alps, on a remote beach where gay guys go to swim, sun their shaved pubes and cruise the wildlife.

Besides all the sex, there's a nice friendship between the main character and an oddball straight man who hangs out there for his own, totally harmless reasons. And there's some really funny dialog about giant catfish that may or may not live in the lake.

Pierre Deladonchamps is fantastic as Franck, the main character, as is Patrick d'Assumçao as Henri the straight guy. Christophe Paou is good as the subtly sinister murderer Michel - and he is identified early, so I'm not spoiling the story for anybody who hates spoilers.

I think I can safely say this is unlike any movie anybody has ever seen before. I liked it a lot.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Strange and disappointing, 17 July 2014
By 
Brian (BIGGAR, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stranger by the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
Like most French films I've seen, it was a bit strange and I was expecting that, but it was overly strange and came to an end without finishing the story properly. The guys weren't particularly good looking either, so it didn't even win me over for the eye candy.

I don't think I shall be watching it again.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, sexy and a exciting thriller to the end., 27 May 2014
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I enjoyed this movie. It was honest, sexy and became an exciting thriller towards the end! The cruising in the dunes and on the beach I remember from the past! I suppose it still exists nowadays. Good acting and a superb blue-ray!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but a bit hard to swallow, 7 July 2014
This review is from: Stranger By the Lake (Blu-ray)
This is an interesting, atmospheric film with precise storytelling and good performances. The central character's motivations are kept a bit of a secret. Of course love / lust is a factor but is that really enough to explain what he does? I found his behaviour hard to accept and thought the director needed to do more to convince me this could happen.

Worth seeing and reflecting upon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good film with bit of a plot but, 5 July 2014
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OH was not expecting this.

Good film with bit of a plot but.

Bit of a clichéd French detective in it.

But, be aware that there are some graphic sex scenes that could have come from a porn film not a certificate 18 film. I suppose they call it art...
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5.0 out of 5 stars ... when it first came out at the cinema and loved it. I had to have the DVD and ..., 1 July 2014
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This review is from: Stranger by the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
I saw this movie when it first came out at the cinema and loved it. I had to have the DVD and have introduced it to friends. its certainly deserves all the praise it has acquired. Well done.
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Stranger by the Lake [DVD]
Stranger by the Lake [DVD] by Alain Guiraudie (DVD - 2014)
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