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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Stranger By the Lake aka L'inconnu du lac [Blu-ray]

 

(Alain Guiraudie, 2013)

 

Coming to Blu-ray in the UK via Peccadillo Pictures on May 26th, 2014:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Les Films du Worso

Video: Strand Releasing

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:40:20.000

Disc Size: 44,097,116,215 bytes

Feature Size: 28,206,032,256 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.47 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 12th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

English (burned-in)

 

Extras:

• Interview with director Alain Guiraudie (16:32 - in HD)
Deleted Scenes (4:19 in HD)
Alternative Ending (9:20 in HD)
2 Short Films by Alain Guiraudie (SD - Heroes Are Immortal - 13:28 / Straight on Until Morning - 10:15)
US & UK Theatrical Trailers (HD 1:35 + 1:28)
Other Strand Releasing Trailers

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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.

 

 

The Film:

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 shocks.

Spare, steely, sexually explicit in a way that transcends mere provocation, Stranger by the Lake is vital cinema.

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail located HERE

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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 my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

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).

Two deleted scenes are also included, once in which Franck voices his worry about Henri's safety (which would have suggested that he took Henri's warnings about Michel seriously) and another featuring a rather heavy-handed discussion of safe-sex (which is entirely absent from the film despite the director mentioning how rarely it is discussed on film in the interview). The alternate ending segment features two different takes of a different but still ambiguous conclusion. Two short films from director Guiraudie are also included; the first of which is about the seemingly fruitless attempts of a pair of writers to track down a phantom street graffiti poet whose artwork appears in town squares by night, while the second documents the protagonist's pursuit of a similar (possibly the same) artist. In addition to the US trailer, the Blu-ray also includes Peccadillo Pictures' UK trailer in Dolby Digital 5.1 (the rest of the extras are in LPCM 2.0 stereo)."

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
What a curious and mysterious film. Stranger By the Lake had me.... mesmerized. What a rich, unusual thriller. It's definitely a film I'm going to have to see again... and probably a third time before I get a solid handle on it. It does have a lot of homosexual relations scenes and, obviously, male nudity. The Strand Releasing Blu-ray offers a lot from the intriguing film to some valuable extras. Definitely, a recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

April 29th, 2014

Coming to Blu-ray in the UK via Peccadillo Pictures on May 26th, 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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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