Stranger by the Lake

Director: Alain Guiraudie
Screenwriters: Alain Guiraudie

Institute History

  • 2014 Sundance Film Festival


Since premiering at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival (where Alain Guiraudie won the best directing award in Un Certain Regard), Stranger by the Lake has stunned festival audiences around the world with its candid and absorbing portrait of passion and murder at a secluded lakeside cruising spot.

Handsome young Franck visits the lake daily, increasingly bold in his search for sexual partners among the nude beachgoers. He befriends lonely, middle-aged Henri, but he also obsessively fixates on the darkly attractive Michel, even after he witnesses Michel’s violent late-night encounter with his latest partner. Nonetheless, Franck remains focused on attracting Michel’s attention, no matter what the potential risks are.

Naturalistically depicting the tiny, white stone beach, Stranger by the Lake is alive with the sounds of rippling water and rustling leaves while it explicitly details the sexual encounters taking place within the lush lakeside woods. Guiraudie painstakingly constructs an amusing and astute study of a community while simultaneously generating a creeping sense of dread in this gripping thriller.

— Heidi Zwicker

Screening Details

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