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
The confession will take place in the chapel.
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A haunting poetic tragic doomed love affair
After a spate of disappointing gay films in the mid 90's, Lilies appeared from Canada as a fresh bouquet presenting a refreshing change of pace. Improving upon the play its based on, Lilies uses various cinematic conventions to its advantage, with cuts between prison re-enactments and the actual events given seamlessly and often artisticly breathtaking. The use of cross gender casting (this is an all male film) is humorous to a degree, but never in a mocking drag queen tone. We come to believe these men are really women. And the coming of age love story at the center of the plot, done to death by so many other films, is achingly tender.
It was once said that gay work has to have someone die in it and this film is no exception. But the deaths portrayed here and the long hidden betrayal finally revealed are handled quite effectively. The artifice involved only adds an extra layer of beauty upon the story. A remarkable acheivement.
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