Story: Feature film

Vigil, 1984 (1st of 2)

Vincent Ward's utterly distinctive and unforgettable psychological thriller Vigil launched the then-27-year-old director's international career. Until this film appeared, the New Zealand countryside was widely regarded as idyllic – a great place to bring up children and sheep. As this trailer indicates, Ward created a sinister, brooding, elemental landscape, thick with unknowable terrors and disturbing symbols. He discovered both the film's star, 11-year-old Fiona Kay, and its location, a remote valley near New Plymouth, after exhaustive nationwide searches.

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NZ On Screen
Reference: Vigil. Producer, John Maynard; director and writer, Vincent Ward. John Maynard Productions, 1984.

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How to cite this page:

Helen Martin, 'Feature film - The 1980s: breaking new ground', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 July 2024)

Story by Helen Martin, published 22 Oct 2014, reviewed & revised 21 May 2024 with assistance from Emma-Jean Kelly