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A young boy in 14th century Cumbria (north of England) keeps getting visions he cannot explain. His village has so far been spared from the black death, but the villagers fear its imminent arrival. With the boy as their guide, a group set out to dig a hole to the other side of the world, so as to fulfil the visions and save the village. At the 'other side' is 20th century New Zealand !.. N.B. Flips from B+W to colour frequently. Written by
It was this movie that convinced the producers of Alien³ (1992) to hire Vincent Ward as writer/director (although Ward would eventually leave the set of Alien 3 after many creative differences with the studio). See more »
(at around 51 mins), during the pouring of the spike in the foundry, Griffin breaks the "fourth wall" by briefly looking up at the camera and then quickly away again. See more »
I wish I could have a few minutes to hear Vincent Ward's take on the marketing of the movie, because I never have seen anything so mis-marketed. I could see some US film distributor scratching his head and saying, "gee? how are we going to make this dreary arty movie about the black plague appeal to the lowest common denominator of the US market?", "Ok, let's slap sci-fi and time travel on it..."
Navigator is a beautifully filmed, well acted, impressive movie that (hear this!) has nothing to do with time-travel, or "monks dodging 20th century stuff"...it is an allegory! (look that up). What Mr. Ward does is, rather than rely on expensive and silly special effects to spice up fantasy dream sequences, simply juxtaposes 20th century settings with the 14th century time frame of the film to give life to a boy's fantastic visions, and story told to give hope and entertain the desperate people of his village...his visions, done in color and film with the 20th century as it backdrop is as fantastic to the people of his village, as if someone from the 14th century actually did travel through time. With premonitions of the arrival of the plague to his village (which turn out to be heeded), the villagers of a winter bound poor community hover in fear and look for any omen good or bad to give them some sign of what is coming. With a fantastic narration of a quest (ala the holy grail) to mount a spire on a church in a faraway land, that if done before sunrise would save the village, a boy describes his fantasy which is shown to us, complete with sea monsters and dragons (all represented by 20th century contrivances).
For those seeking real time travel, stick to the true sci-fi, you will be disappointed...
For those interested in seeing a dark, moving tale of the desperation that must have been felt by the people who lived through the plague without understanding what it really was...a tale where the fantastic is really our wonderfully mundane world...check this out.
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