If you are ever in the mood for a beautiful gay love story this is the movie for you. “Lilies” (Alliance Video) seems to be inspired by “Romeo and Juliet”, forbidden love is the theme. It is gorgeously filmed and photographed, has a haunting music score, beautifully surreal moments and simple tenderness. Quite simply, it is a beautiful film. It is quite sad that the movie has not been more widely seen but now that it is available on DVD. Perhaps it will get the audience it deserves.
To start the film, a prisoner named Simone makes a request that a specific priest comes to hear his confession. The priest is somewhat mystified as to why he is asked to come, goes to the prison and he finds out that he has some confessing of his own to do. He is placed in a confessional and forced to watch a play about Simone’s childhood when he was a student in a Catholic school and involved in a gay relationship with a young guy named Valier. Their love is kept secret until another student, Bilodeau (the priest when he was a teenager), discovers what was going on and confronts them and calls then “diseased”. It turns out that he is the more diseased of the group. As the play progresses, Simones’s father mutilates his sons body when he finds out about the affair and in rage, Simone commits arson. Then a young girl visits the school (a boy actor portrays the girl) and she falls in love with Simone. He plans to marry her but Valier sabotages the engagement party and things just continue to get wilder.\
This is a movie that transcends gender and is as bold as it is brilliant. The cinematography is luscious and the casting is first rate. The artistic and judicious use of nudity and sexuality beautifully illustrate the dilemmas of private as opposed to public morality. He best and worst of human emotion is vividly portrayed such that I was not sure whether I should laugh or cry or simply yell at the screen with anger.
We all do things we would rather forget and that is what “Lilies” is about. One man’s sin returns to haunt him 40 years after he committed it and the result is both beautiful and heart wrenching. This is a truly remarkable film that has, as I stated earlier, largely unnoticed. It is theatrical and at times it is hard to believe that it is a movie.
By using only males in the film it remains true to the style of drama of the day and the guys who play women are amazingly feminine and it is hard to see them as men especially one actor named Brent Carver, who later went o to be the toast of Broadway when he was in the musical version of “The Kiss of the Spider Woman”—another great movie.
The movie is unbelievably deep as it deals with the lies and the deceptions of “Mother Church”. This is not just about the plight of one man but the story of men and women everywhere who are persecuted for being true to their feelings of love for their own sex. Same-sex relationships here are presented as commitments and not as “tricks” or one night stands. There is trust and pain in loving and heterosexuals do not have a corner of the market on relationships. Here love s portrayed by the struggles faced which are due to the intolerance and rigidity of the church. It is not just a story of gay love but a story of the intensity of love and how consuming and how selfless love can be. This is done by contrasting love with vengeance and regardless of sexual orientation; this is a move that can be enjoyed by all who want to learn about the strongest word in any language.