Speaker: Dr Joe Hardwick, French Discipline, School of Languages and Cultures 

Dr Joe Hardwick is a lecturer in French cinema, literature and cultural studies at the University of Queensland, Australia. His current research interests focus on queer cinematic love triangles in French-language cinema.

Topic: Undressed to kill: reading Alain Guiraudie’s L’Inconnu du lac/Stranger by the Lake (2013) as homme fatal narrative

One of the unknowns associated with Alain Guiraudie’s acclaimed thriller L’Inconnu du lac/Stranger by the Lake (2013) is what the film is really about. Set at a lake in southern France where men have sex with men, the film follows the protagonist Franck who pursues a relationship with a man he meets despite witnessing that man drown his lover. Whereas some reviews have read the film as a fable about the dangers of casual sex or HIV, this talk argues that a key theme is the question of ‘knowability’: how do we come to know, to read, to make connections? How the film itself - set amongst a very specific community of men - connects to a wider viewing audience is a further question this talk addresses. To do so, three aspects pertinent to its readability are considered. The first relates to genre: how the film breaks with the generic conventions of the homme fatal thriller. The second pertains to space, with Guiraudie’s lakeside being compared to sociologist Jean-Didier Urbain’s writing on the beach. The third concerns narrative, specifically the self-reflexive element of three ‘reader’ characters in the film. This article will contend that ultimately Guiraudie’s film goes beyond communitarian questions to offer a post-queer vision of connectedness and disconnectedness in a world of increasing isolation.

The seminar will be held in-person in room 32-312 however there is also the option to login via Zoom, ID number 83579432569.

About Studies in Culture Seminar Series

Through the scholarly analysis of many different kinds of cultural products, texts and phenomena, Studies in Culture brings together researchers who seek to understand how the world is understood differently by people coming from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Researchers in this cluster work on literature, film, music, theatre, the visual arts, intangible heritage, testimonies and historical narratives.

Research in Studies in Culture within the School centres around four broad sub-themes of Heritage, memory and trauma studies; Intellectual and cultural history; Literature; and Film and visual cultures.

To view more on the research and interests of the Studies in Culture cluster, please click here.


Gordon Greenwood Building #32