Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stranger By The Lake

Have you seen Stranger By The Lake? It's a French drama that won the Queer Palm at Cannes...
It's set at a summertime lakeshore gay cruising area where men sunbathe nude and cruise in the nearby foliage.
Our head man on the make, Franck, prowling alone during the early evening, spots sexy Michel in the lake with his boyfriend. From his surreptitious vantage point, it looks like Michel and his boyfriend are just horsing around in the water, until he watches Michel drown the boyfriend and casually swim away.
Franck never admits to what he saw, but can't resist his attraction to Michel and he keeps coming back every day to have sex with him, tempting his own fate, and putting everyone at risk. At one point, a detective investigating the drowning sums up the way this community seems to show love to one another, and it's pretty dead on.
Stranger By The Lake saves on locations - it never leaves the claustrophobic lakeside. And besides the nudity and non-simulated actual gay sex, it's a slow-burner, which is to say Simon found it just boring. But when I sit down for a French film, I'm prepared to just sit down. I found it to be an insightful exploration and indictment of not just how gay men treat one another, but how we treat ourselves. In not unsimilar circumstances, we can watch someone die of a GHB overdose and still take GHB; we can watch friends die of AIDS and still have unprotected sex.
More than any other minority groups, gays love to circle the inferno. We dance around the edge to see how close we can come without actually being claimed by the volcano. I've done it myself. The risk is the thrill.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jesse,
Again I must comment. After many years of observation, I have found that youth, lack of commitment, and intelligence all contribute to the living of life loving risk. I guess you must possess all of these characteristics. Change any of these, and you alter the amount of risk you are willing to take or tolerate.