The Playlist

Review: Uniquely Moody & Explicit ‘Stranger By The Lake’ Brings Together Summer Love & Murder

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • January 22, 2014 6:01 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The scheduling of the Cannes Film Festival works in such a way that it’s rare that we get to see any film based on anything as spontaneous as peer recommendation unless it’s already been on our radar for a few weeks beforehand. But one film that did come to our notice by that route, and then the stars aligned enough for us to be able to see, was Alain Guiraudie’s French-language “Stranger By The Lake,” and we’re very glad it did. Tonally in the same vein of sunny noir as, say, Francois Ozon’s “Swimming Pool,” ‘Stranger’ is a sexually explicit but low-key story of lust and murder set, with almost theatrically formal rigor, in a contained few locations on the “gay side” of a lake in the French countryside over a few weeks of summer. It went on to win Best Director in the Un Certain Regard sidebar, as well as picking up the independently awarded “Queer Palm” for best film with an LGBT focus, and it deserves all those plaudits because, while its graphic scenes of gay sex are what will grab headlines, what was most impressive to us was the film’s unique mood: Guiraudie creates an ambiance of eerie atmosphere that is at once crisp and observant, and oddly dreamlike (or nightmarish).

The 21 Best Films Of 2014 We've Already Seen

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • January 7, 2014 3:45 PM
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  • 19 Comments
20 Best 2014 Films We've Already Seen
The more OCD among us here at Playlist Towers find it a source of constant aggravation that release dates vary so much from territory to territory, and festivals often get premieres a full 18-or-so months before a film gains a proper U.S. release, that doing a cut-and-dried list of any given year’s movies becomes less science than art. And while it’s an art that has already yielded our first magnum opus of the year, the 100 Most Anticipated Movies Of 2014, (and we should probably be awarded the rest of January off as a result) there’s still a category of film we’ve left unmined: those movies that we saw and reviewed in 2013 at festivals or sneak screenings or parts foreign that won’t be in theaters until 2014.

'Gravity,' 'Frances Ha' & 'Blue Is The Warmest Color' Land On Sight & Sound's Top 10 Films Of 2013

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 2, 2013 9:08 AM
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  • 5 Comments
It's beginning to look a lot like... Awards season. December has arrived and it means trophies are going to start arriving by the truckload. This week alone we'll see the Gotham Awards, New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board Of Review all hand out their prizes, while overseas the celebration of 2013 of film has already begun. Last week, Cahiers Du Cinema dropped their best of the last twelve months, and now another cinephile mag is doing is the same.

'Gravity,' 'Spring Breakers,' 'Blue Is The Warmest Color' & More Land On Cahiers Du Cinéma Top 10 Of 2013

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 26, 2013 11:24 AM
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  • 9 Comments
Let the honors begin. While the New York Film Critics Circle will select their winners a week from today, unofficially kicking off the handing out of awards, overseas the snootier and usually more adventurous folks at Cahiers du Cinéma have unveiled their top ten movies of 2013. And as usual, it's excitingly all over the place.

Watch: Clips & Trailers From All The Cannes Winners Including 'Blue Is The Warmest Color,' 'The Past,' 'Inside Llewyn Davis' & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 28, 2013 11:13 AM
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  • 1 Comment
With the red carpets rolled up, the champagne corked and every available bed now vacant in the south of France, the Croisette is now back to being a hub of the bustling beach resort at least until next May when the frenzy of the Cannes Film Festival descends again. Over the weekend, the prizes were handed out by Steven Spielberg's jury and history was made as director Abdellatif Kechiche and the two lead actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux shared the Palme d'Or for very well-received relationship drama "Blue Is The Warmest Color" (read our rave review here). But it was just one of many films that got honored, including Asghar Farhadi's "The Past," the Coens' "Inside Llewyn Davis," Hirokazu Kore-Eda's "Like Father, Like Son" and many more titles including buzzed-about "Heli," "Blue Ruin," Jia Zhangke's "A Touch Of Sin," and more.

Cannes Review: ‘Stranger By The Lake’ An Impressively Controlled, Sexually Explicit Tale Of Gay Summer Love & Murder

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 28, 2013 10:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The scheduling of the Cannes Film Festival works in such a way that it’s rare that we get to see any film based on anything as spontaneous as peer recommendation unless it’s already been on our radar for a few weeks beforehand. But one film that did come to our notice by that route, and then had the stars align enough for us to be able to go and see, was Alain Guiraudie’s French-language “Stranger By The Lake,” and we’re very glad it did. Tonally in the same vein of sunny noir as, say, Francois Ozon’s “Swimming Pool,” ‘Stranger’ is a sexually explicit but low-key story of lust and murder set, with almost theatrically formal rigor, in a contained few locations on the “gay side” of a lake in the French countryside over a few weeks of summer.

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