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Sunday, 2 March 2014

An Unglorious Return

Today I make my running return. My first outing on the tarmac since the ill advised Christmas Pudding run at Langdale before Christmas.

We are at the Cheadle Spring 5, a mammoth five miler but needs must. I manage to up my pace a little from the levels of my training runs (all three of them) and record 39:16 and 83rd place, half way down the field. The official photos show me battling with some school kid who I managed to fend off eventually. It wasn’t a glorious return but a return it was.

In the evening we head into town to celebrate... 

You used to have to go to dodgy little back street cinemas to see films like tonight’s offering. Nowadays it seems even good old respectable Broadway has such fodder on offer. ‘Stranger by the Lake’ (L'inconnu du lac) is basically a full-on dose of gay pornography and perhaps the perfect antidote to last night’s Lego extravaganza or maybe not. It’s so explicit that I doubt even Nymphomaniac can compete, not that we’ve been there yet.

The film takes us on location, to one location, a gay cruising spot by a pretty lake somewhere in France. Everything in the film happens by this lake. Everyday everyone arrives at the beach, park their cars in the same place, lay their towels out in the same place and then tan their equipment in the same place. Before later retiring to the woods for the main course.

By the end of the film I was so familiar with the layout of the area that I could have drawn a map of it. This repetition succeeds in building the tension because you know there’s going to be more to the film than this (surely).

The main character is Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps), a man on a mission, for a shag. Well he’s come to right spot you would think but he’s initially frustrated. The object of his desire, Michel (Christophe Paou), isn’t available. That is until Franck sees Michel drown his current boyfriend. Now Franck doesn’t think oh shit I ought to report this to the authorities, he only thinks that goody, Michel is now available.

To be fair to Franck he’s not the only one who does nothing, nobody else does anything either. Even when the dead man’s car remains on the car park and his towel lies on the beach in the same place for days on end no one bats an eyelid.

Instead Franck hooks up with Michel and covers for him when the police come investigating. Franck is so blindly in love that he even goes swimming with him. FFS. Yet, despite his puppy dog devotion Michel refuses point blank to have any sort of relationship with Franck beyond the boundaries of the beach. Which is good for the director I suppose, taking the film to another location would clearly have blown his mind, and probably ours too.

What we have here is a gay twist on the old chestnut about the young girl in love with the bad lad from the wrong sides of the tracks; the one that’ll be no good for her but her love is so blinkered that she can’t see past the rippling muscles of his chest. Only with a lot more sex. If you already suspect that this isn’t going to have a happy ending, then you’d be right.

It’s educational I suppose, I learnt a lot about how cruising in the homosexual world operates (if this is typical).
It’s not a bad film but the endless naked flesh is a bit off putting. I’m also not really sure who the stranger on the beach was supposed to be. Michel? Franck himself? or the self-pitying non-gay Henri (Patrick d'Assumçao), who turns up on the beach everyday for no other reason that he’s on holiday and has nothing better to do.

Henri to his credit is the only clothed man in the film, apart from the police inspector (Jérôme Chappatte), and there’s not a woman in sight.

Personally I’m still waiting for the first body to wash up on the beach. 

We eat at Broadway but are again thwarted at Brewdog which has now become amazingly popular so we have a few drinks in the Major Oak instead.
(Sunday 2nd March)

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