watch Lilies trailer


Canada, 1996, 95 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Arts & Literature, Drama, Gay
Program: Michael Lumpkin Retrospective
Language: English

DIRECTOR: John Greyson

In 1997 John Greyson’s Lilies received one of the most enthusiastic standing ovations in the history of the Festival and won the audience prize for best feature. Critic Ruby Rich’s notes for that year’s program help to explain its unique appeal:
“Greyson comes into his own with this intensely cinematic refashioning of Michel Marc Bouchard’s play Les fleurettes, which deepens his characteristic wit with themes of great passion and tragic betrayal. In a men’s prison circa 1952, Bishop Bilodeau arrives to hear the confession of Simon, sentenced to life forty years earlier for the alleged murder of his teenage love, Vallier. But the occasion is a ruse: It’s really the bishop whose confession Simon aims to procure. Religious ritual turns into a play within a play and a fey flashback revels in the innocent days when the bishop and convict were young.
“Midway between Shakespearean idyll and Genetesque rebellion, Lilies displays a cunning force of invention. Squares within squares frame our views of the action, drag accentuates the frame of gender, and tricks of memory are turned on end to reveal long-buried truths. While the theme of romantic love resonates as powerfully in the present as in the flashbacks, it’s the visual design of Lilies that truly captivates.”



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