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Cicerones, The (2002)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

John Trant, an English traveler, is reading a guidebook on a train. Opposite him a pregnant girl and a boy sit in silence, accompanied by an older foreign woman who tells Trant that she is taking them to be married. He asks the woman about the painting 'Lazarus Raised' by Frans Pourbus at the Cathedral of Saint Bavon. She replies that the cathedral is a holy place.

On arriving, Trant is annoyed to discover the cathedral closes in 30 minutes and begins exploring. Walking down the aisle he sees an illusion of a robed figure in the pulpit. A strange European man emerges from an alcove and quizzes Trant about the illusion before walking off repeating the words 'holy, holy, holy'.

Finding a covered painting, Trant is approached by a somewhat forward American man who reveals it for him, assuring him that the saints received their reward in heaven. He pointedly tells Trant that he will be seeing him again, and departs.

Discovering that his watch has stopped, Trant asks an altar boy for the time. The boy silently indicates a side chapel. It appears to be locked, but as Trant approaches the door opens by itself. An English boy emerges from a panel in the wall and says that he lives in the cathedral. The boy leads him deeper into the church despite Trant's concerns about being thrown out.

Trant follows the boy through the crypt past a series of gruesome paintings to an altar, where he is fascinated by a reliquary emitting flashes of light. He is startled by the reappearance of the altar boy and attempts to leave, but the boy and the other three people he has met block his path. As he panics, a small door beside the altar opens and the robed figure he had seen in the pulpit emerges. The figure says that the cathedral is closed and tells Trant to follow him.