I was in the Castro Theatre on 1997-06-26, when Lilies played to an enthusiastic capacity crowd. Other movies have followed with some of the cinematic elements Lilies pioneered, but the film itself has lost none of its lustre. The setting is a Québec prison in 1952; the bishop has come, ostensibly to hear the confession of one of the prisoners, but he arrives to find the tables turned. The prisoner, the young man for whose murder he is imprisoned, and the bishop were boyhood schoolmates, and with help from the other inmates and the chaplain, the prisoner stages a play about their shared past. The top of the confession booth lifts off, and the bishop finds himself transported back to Roberval, on the shores of Lac St.-Jean. We see the young Bishop Bilodeau (Matthew Ferguson, Eclipse), wracked with jealousy over Simon's affection for Vallier. A variety of other characters enter the story, most notably a Parisian lady who arrives by hot-air balloon. The interplay between the characters in the flashback and the present, weaves an enchanting tapestry, drawing the viewer completely into its world. Flawless performances, exquisite cinematography, a compelling story, and a liberal sprinkling of eye candy, justify not only Lilies' place in the pantheon of gay cinema, but also its Genie® award (Canada's answer to the Oscars®). Any serious gay film buff must have Lilies in the DVD collection. MUST SEE
Lilies (Les feluettes), dir. John Greyson, 1996 Canada 95 min.
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