The walled garden is filled with enormous camellia trees, whose white, red and pink flowers generously extend their symbolic message of love and affection. Almost blending in with the abundant foliage, an old man, Armand Germont, is patiently tending the plants, although the crisp autumn chill is biting his fingers. With 48 years of persistent, daily care, he has singlehandedly turned the garden into an impressive sanctuary for camellias.
While pruning, weeding and fertilizing, Armand is smilingly talking to his flowers, “Unworthy?” he says, “Fallen? No, darling, you are pure perfection!” “I will always love you.” Like mantras, he keeps repeating the same words. His devotion is revealed by them, as well as by each one of his gentle movements.
When Armand was a young man, Violetta Valery entered his life. With a beautiful camellia flower decorating her coiffure, she instantly became his “Lady of the Camellias.” Her past as an escort for rich, older gentlemen didn’t matter to him. Once their souls entered the same orbit, time gracefully yielded to the present moment.
Both of them instinctively knew that they were created for each other. Still, Armand’s father soon convinced Violetta that her past would destroy the future of his family. Because of her love for Armand, Violetta stepped back, sacrificing her happiness for the honor of her beloved. Armand was unaware of the reason for her disappearance until rumors about her sickness reached him. With a bouquet of camellias in his hands, he rushed to her bedside, only to meet a pale and weak Violetta, violently coughing.
After her death, Armand never again cared for women. Instead, he became obsessed with camellias, studying them, cultivating them, communicating with them; trying to understand their wordless, hidden messages.
In the late afternoon, as the sun connects with the anticipating horizon, Armand keeps working, happily unaware of time and space. Just like all other days, a woman appears in the brick building’s garden door and calls to him, “Monsieur Germont! Supper time! Sister Genevieve is waiting for you with your pill and your evening tea.”