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”.
(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.– Reviewer Kevin Thomas in the Los Angeles Times, 14 August 1986
Made with funding from the NZ Film Commission and the Film Investment Corporation of New Zealand
Original music by Jack Body