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Pierre Deladonchamps (Sorry Angel) takes a lakeside holiday with a difference in Alain Guiraudie’s slow-burn erotic thriller.
Rigorously crafted and beautifully shot... Alain Guiraudie's gay art-cinema suspense story is compelling and audaciously candid in its erotic charge.
In the heat and lethargy of summer, Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) frequents a gay cruising spot on the shores of a lake. He befriends Henri (Patrick d'Assumçao), a middle-aged loner. Disinterested in each other sexually, the two men establish a platonic rapport. The arrival of aggressively pleasure-seeking Michel (Christophe Paou), however, dramatically alters the dynamic.
Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Queer Palm and Best Director (Un Certain Regard) prizes, Alain Guiraudie’s slow-burn erotic thriller quietly ratchets up the tension as the murky moral ambiguity of its characters is revealed. Largely shot in a single location – the man-made lake of Sainte-Croix in Provence – using only natural light, in which twilight and nightfall literally cloak the characters – and their potential motivations – in a veil of darkness and using only ambient sounds as a ‘soundtrack’, the sensory pleasures at play in the film incrementally give way to a sustained mood of unease. Will Franck’s hedonism and Michel’s lust shield him from harm, or will Franck’s knowledge of Michel’s transgression doom him to the fate of a latter-day Bluebeard’s wife?
– Roberta Ciabarra; Curator, Film
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