A tale of adolescent love as seen through the eyes of bitter old men, Lilies (1996) is all the more tragic for its ravishing beauty. Adapted from the play Les Feluettes, this film does not try to hide its stagebound origins. Instead, it embraces the artifice, taking it to another level in ways purely cinematic.

The story is framed in a prison setting, the play itself a form of flashback. The all male cast expertly portray female characters as well, which adds a layer of unspoken commentary. The young men at the center of the story are a joy to watch, capturing the fleeting glory of youth soon to fade. Highly theatrical performances abound, with a highlight being that of Brent Carver as the mad Countess. (Generally speaking, if a movie features a mad countess, it's a given that I will like it!) What the filmmakers lacked in funding, they more than made up for in creativity, with wonderful cinematography, lighting, costumes, sets, and music.

The original score, composed by Mychael Danna, is just as gorgeous as the film. It's a hauntingly appropriate soundtrack, yet is equally enjoyable on its own. Credit for this must also go to the always excellent Hilliard Ensemble. Danna has perfectly rendered the sound---and feel---of early liturgical music, and it's the sort of thing the Hilliards do exceptionally well.


  1. Never seen this film, although I think I should... Jx

    1. It's right up your proverbial alley! xoxo