Lilies

Cerisaye's Review

In 1912 two schoolboys fall in love in rural Quťbec.† A third is consumed by jealousy, forming a dangerous triangle of forbidden love.† Simon and Bilodeau supposedly were best friends until the arrival of pretty Vallier and his mother, poor French aristocrats.† In 1952 an elderly Bishop is called by a chaplain to a prison to hear the dying confession of an inmate. When he gets there heís taken prisoner and forced to confront a dark secret from his past, revealed only at the end of the film.† Somehow the stories are connected.† How forms the substance of this haunting film about love, obsession, jealousy and vengeance. In a complex structure consisting largely of flashbacks shown like the staging of a play, gradually all is revealed.†

Beautifully shot and lit, with an evocative soundtrack of sung Latin mass, the poignant story is one in the eye for those whoíd dismiss romance as lightweight.† The movie, based on a play, has the thrill of a theatrical experience, artsy and stylised, but intense and visual so that doesnít matter. I had to watch again to understand what was going on.† Best just to go with the story rather than trying to make sense of it.† Stick with the film and all becomes clear, eventually.

Bishop Bilodeau is visibly uncomfortable, burdened with something that makes him suffer.† We know he and the prisoner have met before, as schoolboys, before the trial that sent the inmate to prison.† This is a story about truth, revenge, remorse, and the righting of wrongs.† It all began with a rehearsal for a school production of Sebastian, with the prisoner, Simon, playing the Saint and Vallier his friend, another tale of obsessive love, jealous anger, and the consequences of that. We watch from the confessional booth as prisoners, supported by the sympathetic chaplain, re-enact the homoerotic play that young Bilodeau said would make their town like Sodom & Gomorrah.† In an all-male environment womenís parts are played by men.† This could be a limitation but the actors, particularly the Countess, Vallierís delusional mother, are so good you forget what they are, and itís appropriate anyway in a film about homosexuality.

Simon and Vallier meet secretly to explore their feelings for each other.† Skulking around them is Bilodeau, obsessed with Simonís dark masculine beauty.† Bilodeau wants to break up the lovers, claiming he wants to save Simonís soul from the wrath of God, when really he wants the boy for his own. The film opens up with† flashbacks to events of 1912, though still using inmates as the characters.† Bright colours make startling contrast to the drab surroundings of the prison.† When Simonís father discovers whatís going on he mercilessly beats his son.† It all becomes too much for Simon, who seeks solace in the arms of a predatory female on holiday from Paris.†† Bilodeau is no happier about this liaison.

Simon appears stronger than the ethereal and rather effeminate Vallier, yet is nothing without the other boy. There is one sex scene where the young lovers come together, aided by the Countess who knows more than most about love lost, with a passion thatís gloriously† sensual.† Will Bilodeau finally understand what he did?† And will he make his confession? Youíll have to see the movie if you want to find out how it all ties together.† Highly recommended.