Stranger by the Lake dir. Alain GuiraudieStranger by the Lake dir. Alain Guiraudie

Stranger by the Lake

Nieznajomy nad jeziorem / L'inconnu du lac
France 2013, 97'

director: Alain Guiraudie
screenplay: Alain Guiraudie
cinematography: Claire Mathon
editing: Jean-Christophe Hym
cast: Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou, Patrick D'Assumçao, Jérôme Chappatte
producer: Les Films du Worso
production: Sylvie Pialat
awards: 13. MFF T-Mobile Nowe Horyzonty we Wrocławiu - FIPRESCI award; Cannes IFF 2013 – Un Certain Regard Best Director, Queer Palm; Festival du Nouveau Cinéma Montréal – special mention; Seville IFF - Gold Giraldillo for Best Film and Best Cinematography
Polish distributor: Stowarzyszenie Nowe Horyzonty

release date: 28.02.2014

The most groundbreaking and surprising film of this year’s Cannes FF is a seemingly erotic thriller that is in reality a multi-level metaphor. A young man with a boyish appearance spends a year ‘cruising’ a gay beach. He makes friends with a pot-bellied man sitting on the sidelines, but his heart skips a beat after seeing the charismatic man with a moustache à la Tom Selleck. One evening he watches, hidden, as the man drowns his partner in the lake. In the words of the director, I wanted to address what it means to have someone under your skin: how far can it go. So, I began with a world I know very well and extrapolated on the elements that interested me: the sun, the water, the forest, which are all intensely erotic and poetic. Love and passion may be uplifting, but they’re above all sexual. I wanted to confront that head-on, in a different way, by creating sequences that combined the emotions of being in love with the obscenity of sex. The film frequently changes tone from romantic comedy to horror to parody, referencing to Hitchcock, Friedkin, Freud, Bataille and even Le Petit Nicolas. Nothing and no one is what they seem and the panoramic image and sensual sound combined with this location and a threatening atmosphere create a titillating claustrophobia.

Alain Guiraudie

French director Alain Guiraudie was born in 1964 in Villefranche-de-Rouergue. His short films were presented and awarded at many festivals; all of his full-length features were hosted at Cannes – in the section Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, and his newest project was screened in the main competition section Un Certain Regard. Guiraudie’s works deal with sexuality and identity, maintained as a whole in a dreamy or even surrealist style.

Selected filmography

1990 Les héros sont immortels (short)

2001 Ce vieux rêve qui bouge / That Old Drams That Moves

2003 Bezsenność bohatera / Pas de repos pour les braves / No Rest for the Braves

2005 Voici venu le temps / Time Has Come

2009 Le roi de l’évasion / The King of Escape

2013 Nieznajomy nad jeziorem / L’inconnu du lac / Stranger by the Lake