This mesmerising feature from French writer-director Alain Guiraudie is a mix of Hitchcockian potboiler and queer-culture study. Our lead is buff Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps), who struts with confidence around the lake that is the film’s only location. Franck becomes fast friends with lonely, obese Henri (Patrick d’Assumçao), but his libido is more tickled by ’70s-porn-moustache-sporting Michel (Christophe Paou). The problem? One evening, Franck sees Michel drowning a conquest – which does little to dampen his interest.
Guiraudie has a keen eye for queer conduct: he spends most of the first half hour acclimating us to this Eden where gay men lie around nude and sneak off into the woods for sex, before offering a deeply unsettling exploration of infatuation. The film leans a bit heavily on long takes, but there’s a purpose to Guiraudie’s rigorous perspective. He’s out to unearth the powerful, often terrifying emotions which underly all explicit acts, sexual or not. As Franck comes to learn, death and love make consummate bedfellows.