Adored by critics after its run at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where director Alain Guiraudie won best director in the “Un Certain Regard” section, Stranger by the Lake’s graphic sex scenes made it impossible to market commercially.
Beyond its explicit nature, however, is an expertly crafted slow-burner made in the vein of a Hitchock thriller a la Rear Window whilst also offering an effective commentary on the dangers and vulnerabilities of the gay community.
A scenic lakeside cruising spot is the setting where Franck, a fit gay man looking to explore his sexual desire, becomes romantically involved with the mysterious and alluring Michel.
The picturesque surroundings on display are a mere facade for the menace that lies just beneath the surface. What begins with playful sexual encounters in the woods and leisurely swims in the lake soon builds into tense psychological warfare between the two lovers after Franck witnesses a brutal murder in the water.