Just Giblets

Little Seen Film of the Day – Vigil

27th April 2014
by Michael

Little Seen Film of the Day – Vigil

posted in Memes, Movies, Nonsense, Nostalgia |

VigilNew Zealand director Vincent Ward made a splash in the 90’s with the Robin Williams film, What Dreams May Come, before that indie film goers enjoyed his work on such films as Map of the Human Heart or Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey.  But his first narrative, a little seen film called Vigil, made a major impression on me even though I’ve only seen it once, in the theater, back in the mid-80’s.

Vigil centers around Lisa, an 11-year-old girl on the cusp of adolescence who lives on an isolated farm in the middle of nowhere, with her parents and senile grandfather.  When her father dies in a tragic accident, her grandfather hires an itinerant hunter  named Ethan to help the family survive.  Their antiquated farm is ever on the verge of literal collapse, and while both Lisa and her mother react with aversion at Ethan’s intrusion into their lives, soon a passionate love affair erupts between the widow and this quiet newcomer, driving Lisa to the point of near madness as she copes with grief, puberty, and what she feels is a menacing invading force.

Anyone who has seen Ward’s films knows that he is a visual stylist beyond compare, and Vigil shows this burgeoning talent beautifully.  The remote hills of New Zealand look like a lost, timeless world, well before Peter Jackson ever conceived a a Middle Earth down under.  When Lisa’s emotional quagmire starts to manifest in hallucinations, the audience, seeing the entire film roll out through her eyes, can’t help but be caught up in her mania.  Young Fiona Kay, who later appeared in An Angel at My Table, soars as a young actor in her first film.  Her affecting, natural performance is what’s makes it possible for the audience to join her on this journey.  Vigil might be a tough film to find at this point, never having been transferred to DVD in the U.S. as far as I know, but do try to catch it if you ever get the chance.  I’d also recommend Ward’s later film Map of the Human Heart starring Jason Scott Lee and Anne Parillaud.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, April 27th, 2014 at 7:28 am and is filed under Memes, Movies, Nonsense, Nostalgia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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