Synopsis

The film „Wildefalls”, aims to evoke the autumnal atmosphere in two cemeteries, the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris where Oscar Wilde is buried and the Staglieno cemetery in Genoa where his wife Constance is buried.

The fictional dialogue between Oscar Wilde and his wife Constance brings mortality into the present.

The principal theme deals with feelings of guilt and remorse as well as Constance’s self-sacrifice and offence which cease to exist after her death and thereby become futile. Her unresolved conflict with her worldly existence lives on in the hereafter. The fictional recited dialogue seems to unite the two cemeteries. In the transcendent world, the attempt to come closer and to make up, as well as Oscar’s examination of guilt and remorse, overcome the unspoken and the boundaries of mortality. In this way the two cemeteries unify into a place where forgiveness is possible.

 

Backstory

Deep affection between Oscar and Constance formed the basis of their marriage but their happiness did not last long.

For Oscar the love match soon turned into dislike of his marriage. The birth of their two sons Cyril and Vyvyan turned the couple into strangers. In Oscar’s view the beautiful and delicate girl slender like a lily whom he had married, had turned into a woman whose fragile grace faded after her two pregnancies. He described her as fat, unshapely and ugly and someone who dragged herself through the house unspeakably wretched, her face contorted and blotchy and her body distorted. He was bored with family life and with the banality of domestic duties which eventually drove him out of his home.

At first Constance knew nothing of the intimate friendship between her husband and a young man named Bosie. They were lovers who found many ways to satisfy their needs not only with each other but also by swapping partners within their circle of homosexual friends. Oscar and Constance drifted so far apart that she decided to move out of their home taking their two sons with her.

On February 19th 1896 Constance travelled from Genoa to see Oscar in order to tell him of his mother’s death. At this time Oscar was in prison in England and in his cell he seeked reconciliation with her. He sent his wife a letter full of remorse, begging for a reunion with her and their sons. Constance agreed to a meeting on certain conditions which she wrote in a letter to Oscar, he could not accept the conditions so Constance broke all contact with him and stopped paying his life annuity. She called him “this beast which I cannot call by another name”.

In 1898 Constance died during surgery in Genoa where she was buried. On his way to Switzerland Oscar visited her grave and laid flowers on it. The epitaph “wife of Oscar Wilde” was added on her tombstone only in 1963.