The Prisoners of Lilac Walls
Picture Credit: lokai / official flyer
English Title: The Prisoners of Lilac Walls
Japanese Title: 「リラの壁の囚人たち」
Romanized Title: Rira no Kabe no Shuujin-tachi
Performances: Bow Hall, 05/07 - 05/18; Nippon Seinenkan, 05/24 - 05/31
Author: Ohara Hirotoshi
Director: Nakamura Kazunori
Composer: Yoshizaki Kenji
Choreographer: Iga Yuuko
Available on DVD: Yes (release date 7/20/10)
DVD Scene/Music Cuts: None
|Edward Lance (an English intelligence officer sent to get in touch with the Resistance)||Ouki Kaname|
|Paula Morin (a nurse)||Shirahana Remi|
|Georges Rubik (Paula’s fiance, wheelchair-bound because of a war wound)||Kurenai Yuzuru|
|Marie Fourgs (a cabaret girl, Günter’s favorite)||Otoha Minori|
|Raymond Rubik (a doctor, Georges’ father)||Nishiki Ai|
|Ralda (proprietress of a bar)||Mari Yuzumi|
|Hans Richter||Naoki Jun|
|Roger Morin (a police officer, Paula’s father)||Mishiro Ren|
|Günter Hyman (a colonel in the Gestapo, a patron of the bar)||Miya Rurika|
|Jean Renard (a waiter at the bar)||Ichijou Azusa|
|Pierre (Resistance)||Tenju Mitsuki|
|Rene (Resistance)||Mao Yuuki|
|A Boy / Denize (son of the landlord)||Yumeki Anru|
|Simone Moretti||Marino Yui|
|Marcel Moretti (a landlord)||Honjou Kureha|
|German soldier||Oushina Yuu|
|German soldier||Hyuuga Ran|
WARNING!! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!
The story of an agonizing love suffered by an English officer who has infiltrated into the lower parts of German-occupied Paris for the sake of the Resistance.
A middle-aged English army officer comes to a small cul-de-sac neighborhood that has a boarding house at the rear, a café on the right, and a doctor’s office. The place seems to hold many memories for him.
A boy appears, on his way out to play, and the older man asks him about a Dr. Rubik and some other people. The boy does not know any of them. The older man lets him go, and says sadly to himself that they’re all gone. He starts for the stairs leading to the second floor of the boardinghouse, in hopes of at least looking around, and kicks over some garbage pails, making a racket.
A woman comes out of the café and scolds him, thinking it is one of the kids. He apologizes, and she suddenly recognizes him. He calls her Marie, and says yes, it is really him, Edward Lance. They talk about the past.
The Germans have occupied Paris. The French Resistance movement is working with the British Intelligence to arrange the invasion of France by the English and the Americans. There is some shooting, and a young Englishman is shot in the arm. His French friends rush him off to try to find a doctor they can trust, because he’s bleeding all over the place.
The French resistance fighters bring him to the little cul-de-sac, where the residents are listening in fear to the sirens and distant gunfire. Their noisy arrival throws the place into an uproar (they knock over the garbage pails), with Pierre and Rene, the resistance men, trying to get a doctor at gunpoint. Dr. Rubik runs in, and wants to treat the injured man, but the other residents are afraid of the Germans. While everyone yells and argues, the wounded man is getting weaker and weaker.
Then the Germans arrive. Instinctively, the people shove the three men under the porch and put on a casual façade. The Germans, let by Hans Richter, a spy/agent, are going to search the buildings. However, the colonel, Gunter Hyman, is partial to Marie, one of the girls who works in the cabaret there, so when she reassures him that no one has come, he orders his men off. Hans is reluctant, but Gunter intimidates him into obedience.
Once the Germans have gone, the wounded man is pulled out from under the porch. Some of the people are worried that the men are actually German spies, sent to trick them. M. Morin, a policeman, arrives and reassures the people that they are really with the resistance. He and the doctor convince everybody that they have to help the three men. The doctor finally gets a look at the wound, which is pretty serious, and tells his nurse, Paula Morin, to make preparations to take care of the injured man.
The next day, after everyone has gone off to work, the resistance men talk with Dr. Rubik and Monsieur Morin about what they should do. They agree to stay at the boardinghouse until their friend recovers.
The men are concerned that he will stick out, because he is an Englishman. The young man introduces himself as Edward Lance, and to reassure them explains that his mother was French. He hasn’t been in Paris since he was a child. He has a picture in his wallet, of his parents kissing, and they pass it around. Paula thinks it is cute. M. Morin gets a strange look on his face when he sees the picture, and seems somewhat disturbed. At any rate, they decide that it is best that Edward stay.
Georges Rubik, Dr. Rubik’s son and Paula’s fiancé, wheels himself in, demanding Paula pay more attention to him. He is very loud, very bitter, and already looks jealous of Edward. He was crippled in the war, and is angry with the Germans, the Resistance, and just about everybody. He nearly provokes Pierre and Rene to hit him. He wheels off in a huff. Dr. Rubik runs off after him. The resistance men head upstairs.
Paula apologizes to Edward, and he falls behind the others to talk to her. He says how Paris seems to have its own color, like the walls are lilac-hued. They talk about all the sights - the Montmartre Bridge, the Seine River, the Champs Elysses... Edward sings Paula a song about Paris, then follows his friends.
Jean Reynard, the boy who works at the cabaret, comes out and bothers Paula. He taunts her that George, her fiancé, is no good because he is in a wheelchair, so she should pay more attention to him. He tries to rough her up, but Edward comes outside pushes him away from Paula. He tells him to stop. Jean tries again, and gets pushed again. Then Jean comes up fighting, and Edward serves him a straight right and knocks him flat. Jean runs back inside, yelling that he’ll get even with Paula for this.
Georges had come in on the end of the fight and is very suspicious of that Edward is trying to make friends with his fiancée. Edward tries to calm him down, but it doesn’t really work. Georges demands that Paula wheel him off, even though he seems quite capable of doing it himself.
Edward, having managed to make enemies of both Paula’s boyfriends in one day, wishes he could go back to the fighting, instead of staying idle here and endangering the people.
In the evening, Marie takes a break from her work in the cabaret, unhappy at how everyone treats her, and how the Germans are so mean. The landlady, Ralda, comes and asks what is wrong. She is of the opinion that business is business, it doesn’t matter if they’re Germans, they come and go, they pay, so come back inside and get over it.
Edward had come out on the landing for a smoke, but gave up because he didn’t have any matches, and hears the whole argument. He comes downstairs and comforts Marie, telling her she doesn’t need to be afraid, that even she can stand up to the Germans. She thanks him in tears.
Paula overhears the end of their conversation, and is touched by Marie’s trouble. Before she can say anything, Gunter comes out of the café, looking for Marie. He asks who Edward is. Marie, trying very hard to keep Edward and Gunter from meeting face to face, tells him he is a relative of Paula’s. She gets him to go back inside.
Marie goes back inside, and Edward admits that he feels like a prisoner here, with nothing to do now that his arm is mostly healed. Paula giggles, and says that sounds like the plot of a romance novel. She details the characters for him then, and cheers him up a little. She says that he is still afraid, himself. She says she knows how it feels, to wait and wait and wait. He asks her what she is waiting for, and she says “Love.”
Paula explains that she is engaged to Georges, but they don’t know how long it will be until they can get married. Edward is disappointed to learn this, as he is starting to like Paula himself. Then she says she made up some news words for the song he sang, and sings it for him. That cheers him up considerably, and it looks like a little love scene might have followed, but they are interrupted.
Jean comes out of the cabaret and accuses Paula of flirting with another man while Georges is out of commission. He is very rude, and ruffles Paula up before Edward can stop him. Paula slaps him and runs inside her house, crying.
Edward yells at Jean for treating her like that. Jean isn’t concerned. Why are you concerned about me? Look at you, hanging out with another man’s fiancée!
The next morning the women are hanging their laundry, and singing with their respective husbands/sweethearts. The resistance men come downstairs, and when Paula, Madame Moretti, and Ralda stand in front of the clothesline, they quietly stick their arms through the shirtsleeves and make the women wave their arms around. They are discovered, especially when one of them starts tickling Madame Moretti, but Paula and Edward only smile at each other as she untangles him from the laundry.
Pierre and Rene start singing with everyone else, and then just as the song is finished the wind blows all the laundry to one end of the line! Everybody laughs and starts to fix it.
Suddenly one of the cabaret girls calls that Gunter is coming outside. The resistance men run upstairs and hide inside, just in time. The Gestapo colonel is looking for Marie. He wants her to move in with him, and Ralda says of course, that’s fine, because he will be able to take care of her financially.
Marie hesitates. Gunter is confused, and Ralda is annoyed. Gunter yells, “Do you love me or not?” Marie says, “I’m sorry.” Under pressure, she admits that no, she does not love him. He is getting angry. He is a German officer, Paris is occupied, and she will do what he says. When she refuses, he slaps her. Gunter stalks off, back into the cabaret.
While the other women and girls are genuinely worried about Marie, and try to make her feel better, Ralda scolds her for being foolish and stubborn. She demands to know who put the idea into her head of standing up to the Germans, and why she won’t go with Gunter.
Very hesitantly, Marie says that she can’t go with Gunter because she’s in love with Edward. Then Ralda goes into a tirade about Englishmen. She sends one of the girls to get him, because she is going to give him a good talking to.
Edward comes downstairs, and asks what is wrong. Then Ralda starts screaming and yelling at him, and all the other women are trying to keep her off of him, and everybody is making such an enormous racket that Edward is thoroughly confused. Finally Madame Moretti explains what happened. Ralda pushes him toward Marie, telling him to tell her he was wrong and apologize. She storms back into her cabaret after Gunter.
Everyone kind of drifts away except for Edward, Marie, and Paula. Marie apologizes, and Paula explains to both of them that what they said wasn’t a wise thing to do. Marie begs Edward to find a way for her to go to England, to get away from the Germans. As he comforts her, M. Morin runs in, waving newspapers.
The Normandy Invasion! Edward, Pierre, and Rene are exhilarated that their efforts have been rewarded. Everyone comes running out of the houses, excited that soon the war will be over and everyone will be free! Even Georges cheers up a little, when he wheels himself in to see what the noise is about. Then without warning the Germans arrive. The resistance men make a run for the second story, but Hans Richter shouts to freeze.
Jean has told the Nazis that Edward is with the resistance, in order to get even. He points him out, saying that man, Dr. Rubik’s nephew. The doctor stammers over the nephew part, so the Germans are even more convinced that Edward is a spy. The soldiers order him to come down. Richter asks to see his papers, and he hands them over without a fight.
Richter demands to know his serial number. Edward doesn’t have one. Then M. Morin interferes, saying his serial number is the same as his own. Edward is not Dr. Rubik’s nephew, he says. Instead, Edward is his son. Richter and Jean don’t believe him, but he says to look at the picture in Edward’s wallet. The picture is of himself and Edward’s mother, and he tells Richter to have Ralda say if it is true or not. Ralda says it is, that the woman’s name is Christine. She used to work at the cabaret. Paula gasps, “My brother…”
Georges taunts Paula that now she will only be concerned with him, because that other man is her brother! Paula and Edward stare at each other in horror, while Georges dissolves into crazy cackling laughter.
Now that Edward has been accepted by the Germans as M. Morin’s son, everyone is much more relaxed. More news comes of the advances of the American and British forces toward Paris. Jean is in disgrace both with the residents and the Germans, so nobody pays much attention to him anymore.
Richter comes in and scolds Jean for giving him a false alarm. Georges provokes him into an argument, and things get pretty tense. Richter smacks him in the face, while M. Morin tries to keep everyone from killing each other.
After the agent leaves, M. Morin scolds George for being so reckless. Georges yells at him for always being cautious. Jean runs off in disgrace, and Georges wheels himself off in a temper.
Dr. Rubik and Paula come out of the cabaret - apparently Ralda is ill from getting so excited. That is why the waitresses are hanging around, to give her some peace and quiet.
M. Morin and Dr. Rubik discuss Paula and George’s situation. They are engaged, but with George the way he is, crippled, and paralyzed mentally by fear, the two men agree that it would probably be best if the engagement is called off. Paula protests, saying she is not afraid. She runs off in tears, and when the doctor leaves, Edward comes outside and stops M. Morin.
Edward is having trouble understanding how he is M. Morin’s son; he wants to make sure that the policeman didn’t say it just to throw the Germans off the scent.
M. Morin explains to him that he did not actually tell the truth. Edward is not his son - and not Paula’s older brother. However, M. Morin was in love with Edward’s mother a long time ago, so that is where the picture comes from. He explains Paula’s decision to marry Georges and asks Edward not to stand in their way. This is the hardest part - Edward admits that he loves Paula. M. Morin is sympathetic, but there is nothing he can do. He leaves for his beat.
Pierre and Rene tell Edward that they have their orders for the next mission. Edward says he’ll do it, but they defer. He is with his family, and he’s not strong enough yet, they say. They run off to pack, leaving Edward in a pickle - he needs to leave, because he is in love with Paula, and staying will only make things worse.
So then he tries to talk himself out of being in love with Paula. He calls himself an idiot several times, but it doesn’t help much. So then he is completely miserable.
Things are not going well with Georges and Paula. He is very rough with her, and slaps her around a bit, while she protests that she truly loves him. Finally, he throws her to the ground when she starts crying because he wanted to kiss her. Edward comes downstairs and begs him to stop. Georges pulls out a derringer and threatens to shoot him. Paula tries to protect him, but Edward pushes her behind him. Georges laughs at how ridiculous it is - Edward can’t have Paula because he’s her brother. Funny, eh? What if things were different? Edward and Paula both run away, nearly in tears.
Meanwhile, Marie has decided that it is best that she leave. She is starting to love Edward, but knows that he loves Paula. She no longer wants to be pushed around by the Germans. On her way out, she explains everything to Paula, and tells her that Edward loves her.
Edward walks in from Dr. Rubik’s on the end of their conversation, and Marie says goodbye to both of them.
Shyly, hesitantly, Paula tries to talk with Edward. They are both in an awkward position, because she isn’t used to having a brother, and he isn’t used to having a pretend sister, and they both really just want to get married. Paula asks him if it is really true, that they are siblings, and he says yes, to protect her. Paula cries, and begs him to tell him what he really thinks about her - what he would say if they were just any man and woman.
Edward tries to stick it out, for both their sakes because he is afraid he won’t be able to keep up the false front, but when she clings to him, crying, he says he’ll do it if that is what she wants. So he takes her in his arms and tells her he loves her. They dance, happy and sad by turns, reluctant to let the dream end but knowing in the end that there is no hope.
The next morning, the Germans come again. This time they are going to arrest everyone for conspiring with the resistance. Gunter is especially angry with M. Morin, and looks like he wants to shoot him on the spot.
Then, Edward begins singing the Marseillaise - “Allons enfants de la patrie…” Gunter shouts at him to stop, and jabs his gun under his chin, but Georges starts singing too. Everyone else starts to sing, and Gunter is clearly torn. He begins to respect them, and when Marie holds out her arms, he almost gives in. Richter, the spy, is furious. He pulls his gun, determined to silence Edward once and for all. Paula jumps in front of her brother and sags against him, hit in the chest.
Georges goes berserk and shoots Richter. The German soldiers let loose and shoot him with their machine guns until Gunter yells at them to stop. He gets his men and leaves abruptly, without arresting anyone.
Paula asks about Georges, and Dr. Rubik shakes his head. Paula is happy that Georges got over his fear, and tried to protect her at the end. She asks Edward to sing the song about Paris.
So he sings, his voice breaking, until she sinks back lifeless in his arms.
Back in the present, Marie asks Edward if he ever married. He asks what she is doing now - she is now the landlady at the cabaret. He smiles at that, and her customers call her back inside.
Edward takes one last look around at the walls of the old courtyard that holds so many memories of happiness and pain.
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