100 minutes, France, 2013, Colour, D-Cinema

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During one summer, Franck frequents a secluded lakeside beach, a gay cruising haunt surrounded by woodlands into which the men go to have sex. Franck is horny and sexually adventurous, yet he strikes up a friendship with Henri, an overweight observer who claims to have no interest in what the gays are up to, he just prefers the relative calm of the beach, away from the happy heteros on the other side of the lake. Franck’s head is turned when he sees Michel, a moustachioed hunk in tight trunks. When Franck learns that Michel is as dangerous as he is good-looking, the attraction only intensifies.

Winner of the best director prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes 2013, Alain Guiraudie describes Stranger by the Lake as a “naturalist thriller”, which is as valid a label as any for this sexually explicit, provocative and wry film that defiantly refuses easy categorisation. (Notes by Michael Hayden.)

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