I've had a fascination with Vincent Ward for years. He's a unique and visionary film maker with a reputation for being uncompromising. One of his earlier films was The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey. Made in 1988 it was well received around the world and won many awards including the AFI for best picture. Whether or not it's an Aussie film or a Kiwi one is a contentious matter. Ward is a New Zealander and the film was shot over there, however it was largely Australian funded with mostly Aussie faces on screen. Ward himself isn't too phased about this and so I will go ahead and claim it Aussie. Set in the 14th century it tells of a small mountain village in Cumbria who are one of the last communities untouched by the black death (plague). A young boy has visions of a prophecy and mobilises a group of men to enter into a nearby crevice. It's depth is unknown and they start tunnelling through the Earth holding faith in the boy's second sight. They reach the other end to find themselves in modern New Zealand, 1988. Believing this side of the Earth to be God's kingdom they continue on their quest, narrowly evading an unknown and confusing environment. This is a wonderful film. The concept alone is unlike any other and the way Ward has shot and framed these uncivilised characters lends the film beautiful surrealism. The 14th century scenes are shot in a grainy black and white and in a Wizard of Oz type of revelation it turns to colour when they emerge. Issues of religion and AIDS (which was very topical at the time) are addressed in the narrative and for older viewers there's more to comprehend. I think its one of Ward's best and wish more people knew about it. The cast includes Chris Haywood, Marshall Napier, Paul Livingston and Noel Appleby. I wish they still made unique family films like this.