A sensation at Cannes, and anywhere else it plays we’d imagine, Alain Guiraudie’s film is a seductive blend of beauty, eroticism and suspense in which multifarious desires are played out on a secluded, idyllic gay beach – and adjacent forest
Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
A sensation at Cannes, and anywhere else it plays we’d imagine, Alain Guiraudie’s film is a seductive blend of beauty, eroticism and suspense in which multifarious desires are played out on a secluded, idyllic gay beach – and adjacent forest. A fresh, unclassifiable genre mix of sly humour, hardcore guy action, psychological thriller and murder mystery, it’s a big screen treat highly unlikely to be playing at any multiplex near you. Guiraudie conjures a luminous, liminal realm, disconnected from any other social reality, where the id can run wild. As our fresh young hero is aware, different visitors there seek different degrees of disconnection, but a new infatuation takes him swimming into dangerous waters indeed.
“Transgressive and transcendent… Our lead is the beautiful, swimmer’s-bod buff Franck, who struts around with genial confidence… Though he strikes up an easy friendship with the lonely, obese Henri, Franck’s eye and libido are more tickled by the 70s porn mustache-sporting Michel (Christophe Paou). The only potential problem? One evening, Franck witnesses Michel drowning one of his conquests, which he discovers does little to negate his attraction…
Go in aware that much of the sex is unsimulated, then revel in the ways Guiraudie uses his rigorous perspective, in addition to an always gorgeously-composed widescreen frame, to normalize behavior that is anathema in polite society… But also go in knowing that there are very real, very potent emotions underlying every action, be it an explicit sex act, a lingering embrace, or a horrible realization that meting out death does not necessarily preclude love.” — Keith Uhlich, Time Out NY