Lilies

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Jean Genet Lite, from the same Canadian video-artist turned filmmaker who dared to make a musical about AIDS, the blackly comic ZERO PATIENCE. Adapted by playwright Michel Marc Bouchard from his own Les Fleurettes, this lush melodrama opens in 1952, as elderly Bishop Bilodeau (Marcel Sanbourin) is lured to a federal prison to hear the confession of dying...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Jean Genet Lite, from the same Canadian video-artist turned filmmaker who dared to make a musical about AIDS, the blackly comic ZERO PATIENCE. Adapted by playwright Michel Marc Bouchard from his own Les Fleurettes, this lush melodrama opens in

1952, as elderly Bishop Bilodeau (Marcel Sanbourin) is lured to a federal prison to hear the confession of dying prisoner Simon (Aubert Pallascio). The hitch is that Simon isn't dying at all, and that he, the prison chaplain (Ian D. Clark) and a motley group of cons have conspired to force the

bishop to confess and confront his own secret past. In the present day, the ragtag prisoners stage a crude reenactment of the 40-year-old events that led one man to the priesthood and another to prison. Flashbacks to the actual occurrences unfold in a flamboyant and highly stylized fashion: most

conspicuously, all the women's parts are played by men. The place is rural Quebec, the year 1912. Simon (Jason Cadieux) -- the sort of ripely handsome youth who was born to play the lead in the school play, especially if it's about St. Sebastian -- is enmeshed in an intense, clandestine affair

with classmate Vallier de Tilly (Danny Gilmore), the impoverished son of an absent aristocratic father and a mad countess (Brent Carver). Young Bilodeau (Matthew Ferguson), confused about his sexuality and ardent in his faith, is the loose cannon who guarantees that everything works out for the

worst. Director John Greyson has nerve to spare, but this hothouse production is overwhelmed by its own preciousness: The same conceits that may well have produced a stunning piece of theater make for some very mannered cinema. Despite the passionate performances and truly stunning production

design, by the end it's all a little much.

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Jean Genet Lite, from the same Canadian video-artist turned filmmaker who dared to make a musical about AIDS, the blackly comic ZERO PATIENCE. Adapted by playwright Michel Marc Bouchard from his own Les Fleurettes, this lush melodrama opens in 1952, as el… (more)

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