Stranger By The Lake

“Love,” Death, and Penises in ‘Stranger By The Lake’

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“Mind if I get naked,” the main character of ‘Stranger By The Lake’ asks a fat, older shirtless man in the middle of a conversation. The two characters are at a nude men’s beach, so the question isn’t unexpected, but in a film which isn’t porn (and this film is not porn), male actors are rarely asked to be nude, and when they are, we most often see their backsides only. In non-porn films actresses are usually the ones with their clothes off, a situation that echoes the famous poster from the Guerrilla Girls which asks if women have to be naked to get into the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Women are still a tiny minority of film directors but naked women in films are plentiful, the stills forever appearing on websites where commenters can criticize every aspect, no matter how trivial, of the actresses’ bodies and debate whether the women are “hot or not.”