Classic Kiwi movie returns to Cannes

Last updated 12:29 25/04/2014
Vigil Vincent Ward

VIGIL: In 1984 it was the first New Zealand film to compete in Cannes.

Vincent Ward
BRADLEY AMBROSE/Fairfax NZ
VINCENT WARD: The director won't be at Cannes but says the rescreening will add to the movie's reputation.

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Vigil, Vincent Ward's first feature film, is to be re-screened at the Cannes film festival 30 years after it was first shown at the event.

In 1984 it was the first film from this country to compete in Cannes. This year it has been invited back to the Cinema des Antipodes section of Cannes Cinephiles 2014.

Ward, an adjunct professor at the University of Canterbury, said it was great to have visibility at Cannes. It added to the reputation of a film and therefore would help with the financing of his new film.

The brooding film is set on a grey, remote valley sheep farm where a handful of characters have an uneasy co-existence.

Last December NZ On Screen chose it as one of New Zealand's top 10 feature films.

Los Angeles Times reviewer Kevin Thomas called it "an extraordinary visual and psychological experience".

"It is screen poetry of the utmost rigour, achieving maximum effects from minimal means."

Time Out's reviewer found the film "does achieve occasional moments of striking visual beauty", but it was "often in danger of sinking into a heavy mythical mud of its own making".

Vigil is due to screen on May 24, the last Saturday of the festival.

Canterbury University said Ward would not attend the screening as he was screenwriting in Australia before heading to China to be on the jury of the Shanghai film festival and to work with artists at Shanghai University.

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- Fairfax Media

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