Stranger by the Lake (French: "L'inconnu du lac") is a 2013 French film written and directed by Alain Guiraudie, focusing on a group of gay men who meet at a cruising nudist beach next to a lake somewhere in France.
Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) is in love with Michel (Christophe Paou) who is sleeping with most of the men at the beach. Franck desires Michel - even when he witnesses Michel drowning his lover in the lake one night. When the body resurfaces, Frank (who by now is having frequent sex with Michel) must decide whether to live out his passion, whilst Inspecteur Damroder (Jérôme Chappatte) tries to investigate the murder despite everyone on the beach closing ranks and saying nothing. Meanwhile, Henri (Patrick d'Assumçao), a newcomer to the beach, must deal with his feelings towards Franck.
Tropes by the Lake:
- A Date with Rosie Palms:
- Franck and a guy give each other mutual masturbation because they're out of condoms.
- A man regularly masturbates watching other men having sex.
- All Gays Are Promiscuous: But then, they *are* at a cruising ground...
- Background Music: Averted, no music features in the film whatsoever.
- Bury Your Gays: Most of Michel's victims are other gay men.
- Cast Full of Gay: With the (possible) exception of the Inspector.
- Establishing Shot: The shot of the car park, where one or more cars are seen driving in, marks the beginning of a new day.
- Fan Disservice : Not all men in the film are attractive. In particular, the man who wanks in the woods.
- It's Not Porn, It's Art: Porn actors were recruited as body doubles for filming close-ups. Yep...
- Manly Gay: The entire cast. No-one is seen having any particularly camp moments.
- Naked People Are Funny: Inverted, as Henri is the only one not to get naked to the bemusement of others.
- No Ending : The film abruptly ends with Franck calling for Michel in the night. We don't get to learn Michel's motivation for killing his lover althought it's possible it's just because he was tired of him.
- The Oner: The shot where Michel drowns his lover and then leaves the lake, walks back towards his clothes, gets dressed and then leaves, is all one continuous shot.
- Slashed Throat: How Michel kills Henri at the end.
- Suicide by Cop: Henri warns Franck that he suspects him to be the killer then lures him into the woods. When Franck finds Henri bleeding to death he tells him that he got what he wanted.