Tuesday, June 24, 2014

L'Inconnu du lac

2013, France, directed by Alain Guiraudie

Formally fascinating, with Guiraidie filming at just a single location -- a lakeside cruising spot -- and using only natural sound. The action is pared down to a series of repeated interactions as each day blends into the next over the course of a week or so of summer, the passage of time marked mostly by the arrival and departure of cars and the greetings that punctuate each morning. The film is also a very personal meditation on gay sexuality on the part of the director, with Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) something of an avatar for Guiraudie, torn by his desire for another man despite his knowledge of that man's actions.

I'm not familiar with Guiraudie's past films -- the clips I've seen suggest a broad, even comic sensibility very much removed from the spare, controlled approach here -- but the evidence of L'Inconnu du lac suggests a director fully in control of his means, carefully orchestrating suspense by revealing just enough of his characters' motivations to create alarm in the viewer, while cleverly exploiting the semi-privacy of the apparently idyllic location so that we're uncertain of what might be hidden at any given moment. The finale departs from the apparent realism of the rest of the film, suggesting instead something of the force of a parable; I found it less satisfying as an outcome, although entirely in keeping with the actions of a character whose essential function is to represent danger, unlike the other more rounded and, in most ways, more interesting participants.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just dropping by to say: your blog is really nice. And L'inconnu du lac indeed is a fascinating movie.


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