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Vigil (1984)

Not Rated | | Drama | 15 August 1986 (USA)
A lonely girl living on an isolated, mist-cloaked farm is confronted with the changes wrought by a stranger that arrives.

Director:

Vincent Ward

Writers:

Fiona Lindsay (with assistance from), Graeme Tetley | 1 more credit »
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3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Penelope Stewart Penelope Stewart ... Elizabeth Peers
Frank Whitten ... Ethan Ruir
Bill Kerr ... Birdie
Fiona Kay Fiona Kay ... Lisa Peers (Toss)
Gordon Shields Gordon Shields ... Justin Peers
Arthur Sutton Arthur Sutton
Bob Morrison Bob Morrison
Snow Turner Snow Turner
Lloyd Grundy Lloyd Grundy
Bill Liddy Bill Liddy
Joseph Ritai Joseph Ritai
Maurice Trewern Maurice Trewern
Josie Herlihy Josie Herlihy
Eric Griffin
Sadie Marriner Sadie Marriner
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Storyline

A lonely girl living on an isolated, mist-cloaked farm is confronted with the changes wrought by a stranger that arrives.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

New Zealand

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 August 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dojrzewanie See more »

Filming Locations:

New Zealand

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was entered into and selected to screen in competition for the prestigious Palme d'Or (The Golden Palm) Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinema of Unease: A Personal Journey by Sam Neill (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Certainly not like anything else
23 April 2012 | by showtrmpSee all my reviews

SPOILER: I don't know when I've seen a film that was so beautiful and yet so utterly baffling. It's not like any other movie you'll ever see. Every single image is stark and brutal--the director, Vincent Ward, is trying to enter a primitive painting and make drama out of it. And he has a perfect setting--a sheep farm in New Zealand--that comes from Thomas Hardy's accounts, in which nature wages an unending, unfathomable conspiracy against the characters. It's in the actual story Ward tells that he gets into trouble. His 12-year-old heroine, Toss (Fiona Kay) witnesses her farmer father's death from an accidental fall (as he tries to rescue a sheep) and the camera sits on her impassive face for the first of several eternities. Her restless mother (Penelope Stewart) seizes the opportunity to put the farm up for sale. Her dotty grandfather (Bill Kerr) is like every dotty grandfather in the movies--he putters around, muttering feisty-old-goat aphorisms and tinkering with whimsical machines--and quickly becomes insufferable. Ethan, (Frank Whidden) the hunter who carried the father's corpse back to the farm, shows up again looking to replace the father. Toss and her mother are both attracted and repelled by him.

In one remarkable sequence, we see Toss experimenting with Ethan's gun. She looks through the gun sights and begins tracking Ethan through the house, as if she were ambushing James Bond. When Ethan sees her, he steps boldly toward her and removes the sight, which she had taken off the gun and is holding to her eye like a telescope. We are in D.H. Lawrence sexual-awakening territory now, but the combination of Lawrence and Hardy doesn't ignite the way it should--the director's austere manner (keeping everything at a distance) begins to seem remote and rather obscure. The scenes don't follow from each other; each one goes off on its own, and the characters shift attitudes and allegiances to no clear purpose. The performers start doing a lot of staring and squinting into the camera (for LONG periods) only Stewart makes any impression, as she's the only one who actually engages with the person she's speaking to (and the only one who seems to have any grasp on reality.) The last fourth of the movie is unspeakably depressing. We finally realize that this is the kind of film where explanations and logic are left out, and the resultant confusion is presented as "depth". Fascinating and infuriating, in just about equal measure.


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