A dying prisoner s last confession serves as the cover for a plot to take Bishop Bilodeau hostage. Mastermind Simon has planned a special performance for the cleric: a reenactment of the days when they were schoolboy frien... more »ds and when they were both in love with the same handsome boy.
The action moves back and forth seamlessly through time between the crude prison and the actual events of 1912, culminating in the tragic night when both men s fates were decided and their true love was lost forever.« less
""Lilies" is actually two stories going on at the same time. One is the story of a prison convict who asks for a priest to hear his confession, only to bewilder the priest with events from their shared past. The other story is one of love and passion, of betrayal and mistrust, of devotion and connection; the list goes on. The visual integrity is a vision beyond that of any love story I've seen to date, making this a very convincing and masterful production. The film begins with an elderly Bishop making his way to a prison to hear the confession of an inmate. Once in the prison church, it strikes him as odd that a private confession have so many witnesses in the chapel, but once he makes his way to the confession box, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary religious procedure. The convict, Simon, has a plan of revenge for the Bishop, and the chapel is transformed into a stage, the prisoners its actors. The story is that of Simon's life before prison, from his teenage years to the events that brought him to confinement. Simon is a sexually confused adolescent with whom the waifish Vallier is madly in love. Vallier is thin, pale and very emotional, and becomes severely depressed once Simon decides he must start "liking girls." He goes along to the charms of a French countess, who desperately holds onto him to fulfill her fantasy of love. But a forced love never lasts, and Simon soon learns this. His willingness to satisfy his father's expectations are a burden to him, as is young Bilodeau, who regards his behavior with Vallier as sick. Simon soon gives in to his heart, realizing that he loves no other than Vallier. So how does the Bishop tie into the story? This I will not reveal. It is easy to guess what part he plays in the overall scheme of things. But this predictable story twist makes the movie's love story no less affecting. This is a story of a love that could never be torn apart, a love that knew no bounds, one that met its match and won. And on the emotional side, it's quite touching to see scenes involving the two lovers handled in a less-explicit manner than most other films. The movie makes convincing transitions from the past to the present, and even some crosses between the two. The past is brought to life by the actors of the prison, and certain scenes are staged like a play in the chapel while others are seen in Simon's mind's eye. Director John Greyson brings visual flare to the film, though some will find it difficult to make the transition. But if you're on Greyson's wavelength, then the film takes on a sumptuous and tasteful appeal.And the cast is a work of art in its own. Young Simon is played by Jason Cadieux, who shares an electric chemistry with Danny Gilmore, playing Vallier. The two are believable as lovers, and equally as moving when they are separated from one another. Older Simon, played by Aubert Pallascio, is hardened by silent rage over his lost love, while the Bishop, played by Marcel Sabourin, is convincing in his fear over the situation. And Matthew Ferguson makes Bilodeau such an annoyance that we know he will come into play later into the film. "Lilies" is a visually sumptuous treat that many will dismiss, but others will love. There is fire within the romance of Simon and Vallier, one that cannot be matched by many other romances in mainstream films. The present day story is a nice outlet for the memories of a man haunted by his first and only love, and the silent hatred for his enemy."
Lilies is a brilliant and visually stunning film!!!!!
D. Litton | 06/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lilies is a brilliant and visually stunning film!!!!! It is the story of a Priest held captive in a prison while the prisoners reinact scenes from his youth. As a tale of two boys in love unfolds, one of the boys, now an elderly convict narrorates and makes the Priest own up to his past and admit to the things he did. The way the film jumps between the flashbacks and reality on the prison stage is fabulous. Because the action really takes place inside the prison, even the flashbacks, all the actors are men, and in the flashbacks they are in drag to portray the women. All the actors give very believable, tasteful, and convincing portrayals. It is a heart-warming and very endearing film, classy yet entertaining, reminiscent of a Merchant-Ivory masterpiece. It will leave your heart aching, your mind racing, and you thorourghly entertained. I cannot wait to own a copy of Lilies, and add it to my collection."
An Excellent Presentation Of A Somewhat Predictable Story
Chad Biederman | 05/16/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The story goes like this: a bishop is held captive in a prisonchapel and is forced to watch a re-enactment of a romanticrelationship between two young men that took place years ago--and is forced to deal with the repercussions of it's tragic end.Quite frankly, the greatest strength in "Lilies" is it's clever presentation, and it's efforts to put a slightly different spin on what might otherwise be a predictable story. Since all the parts being played in the re-enactment are portrayed by prison inmates, all the women are actually men in drag. Add to that, the segues between the confines of the prison stage to the authentic locale of the flashbacks we're witnessing are seamless to the point of being unnoticable. I've never seen flashbacks presented in such a way, and it's very much appreciated (thank you, John Greyson). Also, while it would be easy to take pot-shots at organized religion in such a story, "Lilies" doesn't take that route. Human weakness, not religion, is the villain in this film. Rather than the church being the tool of the tragedy which unfolds, it winds up being a refuge.All the actors do a decent job, but Jason Cadieux is a stand-out as Simon. He does a great job at conveying the turmoil he feels (and he's damn sexy, too!). The one glaring weakness in the story is the character of Simon's lover's mother. At no point does this woman make any sense to me at all. In short, she's a loon and I don't know what real purpose she serves.However, "Lilies" isn't about her. It's about the bishop and a love he took part in destroying. The story isn't exactly new, but the presentation is so compelling you can't help but get swept up in it."
bruce452 | a big American city | 01/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lilies has to be the best gay film overall I've seen and it leaves me struggling for words to adequately express my appreciation other than to urge others to see it for themselves. I had read many positive reviews before ordering the DVD, but still I was not prepared for how good this movie is; the film could not possibly have won all the awards it deserves.Simply put, Lilies is captivating from the opening sceneThe cast is excellent, particularly the two leads, Jason Cadieux as the young Simon and Danny Gilmore as Vallier, but there isn't a weak character in the film. Matthew Ferguson turns in a powerful performance as the young Bilodeau and Brent Carver is magnificent as the Countess in delicious supporting roles.The transitions from present day to flashback and back again transpire so beguilingly you find it impossible to take your eyes off the screen. The soundtrack is exceptional, to say the very least. This is good filmmaking, regardless of the subject matter.Lillies is not my sentimental favorite gay film, however; in fact, it's a bit of a downer. The love story within the story is beautiful, as well as being beautifully told and acted. Most focus on the extraordinarily handsome Cadieux as the young Simon, but the real heart of the story is Vallier, without whom Simon is just another pretty boy, as he comes to realize. The character of Vallier is nailed, absolutely, by Gilmore, who is fetching in his own right. His confrontation of Simon in the bathtub scene at the end is as powerful a scene as any in gay cinema. The intensity of passion and nuances of emotion Gilmore brings to this scene, as well as his entire role, are riveting.But the confrontation between the older Simon and Bilodeau is less uplifting. I am not a Catholic, so I am not being defensive, but I found this twist of the story a bit too easy, a bit too much of a cliche, and I did not feel the older Simon's need for revenge nearly as strongly as I felt the passion of the young Vallier.These objections having been stated however, if John Greyson (or anybody for that matter) has ever made a better gay film, I would like to know about it."
A great love story
bookworm1952 | Buffalo Grove, Illinois United States | 06/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An evocative, beautifully shot, and well acted love story. The movie opens in a prison, where a bishop has been invited to hear a convict's confession. Once on prison grounds, the bishop is confronted by that same convict, Simon, for whom he has lusted unrequittedly when they were childhood friends. What follows is the retelling of a tragic love triangle and the devastating events which led up to the imprisonment of Simon, the death of Vallier, his lover, and the bishop culpable role in them.Unlike many other movies with a gay theme, this one is very well acted. Young Simon, played by Jason Cadieux, has dark hair, dark eyes, and is drop dead gorgeous. It is easy to see why he is the object of every man's lust. But the one who really caught my attention was Vallier, played by Danny Gilmore. Though pale and a little thin, he is ethereally beautiful. What's more, Gilmore and Cadieux has such an erotically charged chemistry that is not often seen in any cinema. Although not as sexually explicit as some others, the bathtub scene is as sensual as any I've seen.This is a wonderful movie, one of my favorites. The only down side is that it has such a sad story line."