Despite his career of making daring and transgressive films spanning three decades, Alain Guiraudie first achieved wider recognition with his Stranger by the Lake (L’inconnu du lac, 2013). His latest film, Staying Vertical (Rester vertical, 2016), is closer to his more adventurous, partly experimental earlier works, which, despite their peripheral position in the French queer cinemascape, offer a disruptive commentary on the standard gay narrative, which is often limited to the recurring tropes of unproblematic masculinity, youth, physicality, wealth, dating and urban life. In contrast to those patterns, Guiraudie’s lms return to the “low culture” of pleasure and camp humour, which appropriates and transforms the aesthetic codes of the dominant narrative realism. Guiraudie’s films also strive to establish the presence of diverse social milieus on film, such as working-class and rural milieus, and thereby portray same-sex relationships between men of different generations, exploring the issues of gay normalcy and promiscuity.
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