May 24, 2017

L'inconnu du lac / Stranger by the Lake

A film that should make people, who think there is such a thing as the 'gay community', think again. Stranger by the Lake is more a docu-drama than a fiction film, for its setting, feel, action, and atmosphere are ultra-realistic.
One hundred per cent filmed outdoors, with a cast which needed no wardrobe, it had the air of a nature documentary in which David Attenborough stumbles across a pair of gay men getting it on in the bushes, but instead of suavely narrating off-screen, being firmly told by the subjects of his voyeurism to go jerk off elsewhere, like the on-looking wanker was.
The story line is thrillingly Hitchcockian, complete with a shocking murder scene filmed in one take and from a far distance, but without a happy ending or release. But the real story is one of complete callousness and solipsism of all men involved, who have no regard or respect for the murder victim and blithely carry on as nothing had happened. As the main character said: "Life goes on."
Eros and thanatos, sex and death, are closely linked in this film, and not just from the amount of unsafe sex that went on. Having a psychopathic killer who thinks nothing of getting rid of a clinging 'boyfriend' by casually drowning him is one thing, but one that thinks he can get away with multiple murders without any consequences due to the inability and unwillingness of the 'community' present at the lakeside to intervene or co-operate to solve the crimes, is an indictment.
No names are known or mentioned until halfway through the movie, a familiar occurrence when you frequent gay cruising places or venues. I always thought how easy it would be for a murder to be committed at such sites without anyone, even witnesses, knowing anyone's name or business.
The policeman in the film, incidentally the only person fully clothed, had the unenviable task of piecing it all together, and, even more importantly, he is also the Greek chorus commenting on the aspects of cruising culture that many gay men willfully ignore. Being held a mirror to your own culture can be shockingly revealing.
Highly recommended viewing, watch it here: part 1 part 2

No comments: