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Stranger By the Lake aka L'inconnu du lac [Blu-ray]
(Alain Guiraudie, 2013)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Les Films du Worso
Video: Strand Releasing
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 44,097,116,215 bytes
Feature Size: 28,206,032,256 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.47 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 12th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
• Interview with director Alain Guiraudie (16:32 - in HD)
Description: One of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, STRANGER BY THE LAKE has been described as a modern-day Hitchcockian masterpiece. A picturesque cruising spot in the countryside of France sets the scene between desire and murder. Franck, a regular at the lake, meets the handsome Michel and soon falls in love with the mysterious stranger. When a body is discovered in the lake, Franck and Michel soon become primary suspects of the investigation. STRANGER BY THE LAKE is a unique, erotic thriller of seduction and sexual obsession that builds to an unforgettable and terrifying climax.
Frank spends his summer searching for companionship at a lake in France. He meets Michel, an attractive, mysterious man and falls blindly in love. When a death occurs, Frank and Michel become the primary suspects. Stranger by the Lake is an erotic thriller testing the limits of sexual desire.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
The genius of Guiraudie’s precisely measured set-up is how it affords
him space to trenchantly explore ideas about fear and desire without
overstepping generic boundaries; whatever its submerged themes, the film
is first and foremost a thriller, with its share of superbly meted-out
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Stranger By the Lake arrives on Blu-ray from Strand Releasing in the US. The film was shot in HD (Red Epic) and can look pretty crisp with the usual slight haze in-motion that we se for m this production format. It probably looked quite similar to this theatrically. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and is, probably, a great representation of the theatrical. Skin tones seem true, contrast is solid and location colors (water, forest, bush etc.) are bright and authentic. Daylight scenes dominate but there is a dramatically dark scene that is devoid of any digital noise. This Blu-ray seems perfect without weaknesses and presents the film in an impressive 1080P transfer.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is lossy via either a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround or a stereo track - both in original French. It's not so tragic that it is not uncompressed as there is no soundtrack and a lot of the impacting sequences are long, empty, pauses. Aside from dialogue, water and some sexual grunts the audio is fairly subtle with few effects exported. There are no demonstrative separations or need for intense depth. There are burned-in English subtitles and myOppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
There are plenty of supplements from Strand. We get a 16-minute interview with director Alain Guiraudie - in French with English subtitles. He talks about film in general and some specifics of the production. We get Deleted Scenes (4:19 in HD) and an Alternative Ending (9:20 in HD) - both highly interesting after watching the feature. There are two short films by Alain Guiraudie included (in SD) - the director's very first film from 1990; Heroes Are Immortal - 13:28 and, his second, a wonderful short, from 1994; Straight on Until Morning - 10:15 (both are in French with English subtitles.) Lastly, are US & UK Theatrical Trailers and four trailers for other Strand Releasing discs.
NOTE From Eric Cotenas: "Strand's DVD edition – which features optional
English subtitles – features an interview with the director and the
film's US trailer while the Blu-ray sports
some exclusive content. In the aforementioned director's interview Alain
Guiraudie discusses his choice of setting (having less to do with the
south of France itself and more about the way films about homosexuality
mainly feature enclosed and private settings), how films with themes of
sexuality and sensuality usually do not concern themselves with the
working class, and the mythical aspects of the story (from the rumors of
a giant predatory fish in the lake to the god-like characterization and
personification of Michel's character – changed from the earthier
character in the script once the actor was cast – and the similarities
of the film's characters to the Troubadors).
April 29th, 2014
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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