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Marcial Di Fonzo Bo,
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1952: Bishop Bilodeau visits a québécois prison to hear the confession of a boyhood friend jailed for murder 40 years ago. The inmates force the prelate to watch a play depicting what really happened in 1912. We meet him as a young man, strait-laced, intent on convincing Simon (now the convict) to join the seminary with him. Vallier, the son of an impoverished and eccentric countess, loves Simon and he is drawn to Vallier, but in fear of his father's wrath for kissing Vallier during drama rehearsal, Simon courts a visiting Parisian, asking her to marry him. Vallier, encouraged by his mother, attends the engagement party to declare his love for Simon. And what does the watchful Bilodeau do? Written by
This film is proof that some of the most iridescent, incredible films never make it to mainstream America. Barely anyone I know has even heard of this movie, and it's quite saddening. Although it has won numerous awards and lots of prestige in Canada, where it was made, I've often seen it lying on the shelf untouched at Blockbuster or gay film shops.
The movie begins with a prisoner named Simone who requests that a specific priest come to hear his confession. The priest, perplexed as to why he has been summoned, arrives at the prison, not knowing what to expect. It is soon divulged that the priest has some confessing of his own to be done when the prisoners trap him in his confessional box and begin to perform a play. This play is about Simone's childhood, when Simone was attending a Catholic all-boys boarding school and was in a gay relationship with his schoolmate, Valier. They keep their love clandestine until another schoolmate, Bilodeau (the priest as an adolescent), unearths something of what the two lovers have been doing. He confronts them about it, calling them a "disease," when it is revealed later that he is more insidious than they are.
Things take another dramatic turn when Simone's father discovers his son has kissed a boy and mutilates his body with a whip. Out of searing rage, Simone succombs to arson. A Parisian woman (who is portrayed by a male actor because the play is being performed by male prisoners) visits the schoool and falls in love with Simone. Despite the distinctely male features on her which expose the actor's gender, the he does an excellent job of emulating a pristine, romantic woman desperately seeking love.
Simone repudiates Valier, saying "it's time he started thinking about girls" and that he plans to marry the Parisian woman. Valier is devastated and runs to his mother, who is scorned by the rest of society because she believes herself to be a countess. She is shockingly compassionate and supportive when she learns of Valier's homosexuality. At the engagement banquet for Simone and his fiancee, Valier sabotages the celebration by dressing like a Greek God and reciting a monologue from the romantic Greek play he and his beloved were rehearsing together in the beginning of the film. And I can't tell you the rest. It'll ruin it. All I know is everyone should see this movie-especially gay Catholics. Incredible directing, eloquent dialogue, wonderfully abstract scenary-there's no way this movie could have been done better!
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