“Lilium” is a short American film done entirely in French. Based on an animated short, this live action version of “Lilium” tells the story of a girl who becomes friends with a shadow. Lilium (Sydney Pierick) and The Shadow (Valentine Mathieu) build an odd relationship of mutual admiration until The Shadow asks Lilium to retrieve for him something very important from her parents. The request sours, however, when The Shadow offers Lilium a favor in return for her cooperation, but is unable to fulfill her request.
The film’s screenwriter/director, Derek Page, creates an effective silent movie feel in this piece. Moonlight Sonata is a constant companion and, though there is audible French dialogue, rather than employing subtitles the film uses decorative intertitles done in black and white.
The staccato movement from spoken to written word, color to black and white, and even from Lilium to The Shadow, enhance the poetic qualities of the dialogue. The plot seems almost Greek, mortals interacting with non-mortals, gruesome tasks undertaken as a matter of course, themes of family lineage, duty, and fate. Even the way the characters don’t so much speak to each other (reacting back and forth) as they do take turns making soliloquies harkens back to the earliest Greek drama.
Cause and effect, reason and rhyme, are casualties in this stylized and strange world of blood, purple skies, and unexplained desires. A twisted, goth, must see.