Amid considerable, often violent protesting of France's recent legalization of same-sex marriage, Alain Guiraudie's explicitly sexual gay thriller "Stranger By The Lake" ("L'Inconnu du lac" in French) is hitting theaters in France today. But not without controversy.
France 24 is reporting that the poster for the film has been removed from the Paris suburbs of Saint-Cloud and Versailles at the request of their town halls. The poster -- shown below -- features the drawn image of two men kissing
at the forefront of a beach scene that includes a few other tiny drawn
figures (including vague images of nude men and men engaging in oral
sex). The town halls said they had been harassed by numerous phone calls and emails asking them to take them down.
A "kiss-in" is being planned at Saint-Cloud's city hall this evening to protest the decision. French Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti has also spoken out against the decision, calling it "an act of censorship" and noting that posters "do not present risks to public order."
The film -- which won rave reviews and the best director prize in the Un Certain Regard program at Cannes last month -- is set against the backdrop of a gay cruising beach where men cruise for sex, where Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) finds himself attracted to Michel (Christophe Paou) despite suspecting he might also be a murderer. According to Deadline, the film is tracking second behind "Star Trek Into Darkness" from its first Paris showings (which is quite impressive). Strand Releasing picked up the film for US release. Indiewire previously wrote about the film in our coverage of Un Certain Regard.