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Film, 1984 (Drama)






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Clips (3)

  1. The trailer for the film.

  2. A 10 minute excerpt from this feature film.

  3. The credits for this feature film.


Toss is an 11-year old girl living on a remote hill country farm. While out with her father herding sheep, he falls and is killed. Ethan, a bearded stranger appears, carrying his body, and plants himself on the farm. Toss fears he’s Lucifer and is confused when he and her mother become lovers. It is through Ethan, however, that Toss comes to terms with her father’s death and the first stirrings of womanhood. Vincent Ward’s debut feature was the first NZ film selected for competition at Cannes; LA Times’ critic Kevin Thomas lauded it as “a work of awesome beauty”.


A Perspective by Richard King 04.10.2008

Vincent Ward was only 27 years old when he made Vigil, but he had already proved to be a highly original filmmaker with his two previous short ...

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Comments (1)



I really loved this film, stands out for me as one of nz's favorites.


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Collections.   See all collections ›  

Included in:

 Top 10 NZ Feature Films
 The Sheep Collection

ScreenTalk  See all interviews › 

Related interviews:

 Interview with Vincent Ward

Vincent Ward is one of our most acclaimed movie directors. His films have regularly won praise overseas for their originality, atmosphere and imagery. In this interview with Clare O'Leary, Vincent talks about his career...


(Ward) has created an extraordinary visual and psychological experience, a work of awesome beauty at once mystical and earthy, robust and eerie. It is screen poetry of the utmost rigor, achieving maximum effects from minimal means. 
In form and content, and in its detailed and immaculate concern with visual imagery, it establishes in a single blow the place of its creator, 27-year-old Vincent Ward, as a unique film talent 
(Vigil) is an astonishing feature film debut. Ward is an alchemist - out of familiar elements he creates something shining new. 


1986 National Mutual GOFTA Awards
Cinematography: Alun Bollinger
Original Screenplay: Vincent Ward and Graeme Tetley
Production Design: Kai Hawkins

1985 Imag Fic Festival (Spain)
Grand Prix

1984 Madrid Film Festival
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1984 Prades International Film Festival (France)
Grand Prix

1984 Cannes Film Festival
Nominated for the Palme d'Or (the first New Zealand film to compete for the top award

1984 Chicago International Film Festival
Nominated for Gold Hugo for Best Feature