THE VINTNER'S LUCK a rare and unusual story, set in 19th Century France, which tells of a peasant wine-maker, Sobran Jodeau, and his life-long relationship with an angel.

The angel is Xas, a curious creature who visits Sobran one night a year for the duration of his life.  Sobran is in turn fascinated, fearful and infatuated but also ambitious for what the angel can teach him about the world and about wine.  The angel is equally drawn to Sobran.  Thus begins a friendship that becomes a deep, conflicted and passionate relationship - one that is marked, year by year, by the wine that they make together. 

Man and angel explore each other and with each movement in Sobran's life; ambition, war, lust, love, sex, fatherhood, friendship, artistic mastery and finally spirituality, Xas' experience of humanity deepens.  As does Sobran's.

But this strange and beautiful relationship is inherently unstable, and as the angel reveals his secrets - tragic, beautiful and horrifying - Sobran must confront the angel's true nature.  Their struggle, their separation and their eventual union before the greatness  - not of God - but of the experience of life is what brings Sobran peace at his life's end.


"My first instinct when dealing with a story about an angel was that it needed to be about being human – not divine.  As such, the angel is depicted as more animal than spiritual, more masculine than angelic.  He speaks plainly, yet is not holy in any way.  Through Xas, Sobran learns about wine. Through Sobran, Xas tastes life.

The visual style of the film is anchored strongly in the earth of the wine-growing region of France in the 19th Century.  The film aims for a contemporary look and feel while honestly representing the blood, grit and passion of 19th century peasant life.  Unlike many period films, it does not strive be an epic costume drama, but aims to be visceral, urgent, raw and sexy. 

Screentalk Interview with Niki Caro:

The visual style of the film is anchored strongly in the earth of the wine-growing region of France in the 19th Century.  The film aims for a contemporary look and feel while honestly representing the blood, grit and passion of 19th century peasant life.  Unlike many period films, it does not strive be an epic costume drama, but aims to be visceral, urgent, raw and sexy. 

I have deep affection and respect for each of the four main characters.  Sobran is a modern man, an artist, a thinker and a doer despite his peasant beginnings.  Celeste is a pagan reality, fertile, primal and ultimately animal.  The Baroness Aurora is intellectual, all reason and rationality but with little sensual experience.  And Xas is an angel whose message is essentially humanist – live your life, relish your life, savour all it's tastes…"

Niki Caro gained international recognition when her film Whale Rider, the story of a young girl fighting to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize, gained a 2003 Oscar nomination for lead actress Keisha Castle-Hughes, then 13 years old. The film became one of the year's most successful independent hits all over the world.

Whale Rider won eight audience awards at international film festivals including Toronto and Sundance.  The film won Best Children's Film awards at the BAFTAs and at the Chicago Film Festival.  It won the US Independent Spirit award and Best Foreign Film.

Niki Caro's North Country (2005) starred Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand, who were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, the BAFTAs, the Satellite Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Caro's debut feature Memory and Desire, premiered in official selection at Cannes.  Her short film Sure to Rise was selected in competition for the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.


Joan Scheckel previously collaborated with director Niki Caro on her award-winning film Whale Rider, where she is credited as script consultant.

Scheckel is renowned for her filmmaking workshops, which have been a driving force behind some of the most exciting independent films being made today, including the Academy Award-winning Little Miss Sunshine.


Vera Farmiga is a Ukrainian-American actress who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Performance in supporting Role as Alex in Up in the Air (2009/I).

She was born Vera Ann Farmiga, second of seven children on August 6, 1973, in Passaic County, New Jersey, USA. She did not speak English until the age of six, and was raised in a strict Ukrainian Catholic home of her father, Michael (Mykola) Farmiga, and her mother, Lyubov (Lyuba) Farmiga. She attended a Ukrainian Catholic school, then went to public School. Young Vera Farmiga was a shy nearsighted girl wearing spectacles while practicing her piano, and was switching to contact lenses for dancing. She was touring with a Ukrainian folk-dancing company in her teens.

In 1991, she graduated from Hunterdon Central regional high school. She initially dreamed of becoming an optometrist, but changed her mind, and studied acting at Syracuse University's School of Performing Arts. In 1996 she began her professional acting career making her Broadway debut as an understudy in the play 'Taking Sides'. Her stage credits included performances in 'The Tempest', 'The Glass Menagerie', 'Hamlet', and in a well-reviewed Off-Broadway production 'Second-Hand Smoke' (1997). At the same time, she made her television debut as a female lead, Catlin, opposite then unknown Heath Ledger in Fox's adventure series "Roar" (1997).

In 1998, Farmiga made her big screen debut in the drama Return to Paradise (1998), then played daughters of Christopher Walken in The Opportunists (2000) and Richard Gere in Autumn in New York (2000). She starred as a working-class mother struggling to keep her life and marriage together while hiding her drug addiction in Down to the Bone (2004), for which she won Best Actress Awards from the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Farmiga's acting talent shone in a range of characters, from her memorable role as the senator's daughter opposite Jon Voight in The Manchurian Candidate (2004), to a mental patient in an insane asylum in Neverwas (2005). She co-stars as the wife of a mobster opposite Paul Walker in Running Scared (2006), as a humorous prostitute in Breaking and Entering(2006), and as a doctor in The Departed (2006).


Belgian actor Jérémie Renier made one of the most memorable and challenging cinematic debuts of the 1990s, when the neophyte thespian (then in his teens) signed on to portray one of the leads in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's cathartic psychosocial drama La Promesse (1996). In that film, Renier played Igor, the son of a ruthless, immigrant-exploiting businessman who finds his loyalties torn violently between adhering his father's wishes and respecting the feelings of a local widow. The film made critics (and producers) sit up and take notice of the young actor, and prompted many additional movie roles for the blossoming Renier, who continued to evince his courage and need for emotionally demanding work -- first as a murder accomplice who falls prey to a rape-happy sex maniac in François Ozon's brutally violent melodrama Criminal Lovers (1999), then as the long-estranged son of a porno director (Jean-Pierre Léaud) in Bertrand Bonello's arthouse drama The Pornographer (2001). Soon thereafter, Renier took on the supporting role of Thomas d'Apcher in the bizarre costume horror/action/martial arts/moster film Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des Loups, 2001), which was a hit in France, and a modest success internationally. 

Renier subsequently re-teamed with the Dardennes for another lead, this time as an irresponsible and amoral father who makes the fateful decision to sell his infant child on the black market in the social conscience drama L'Enfant (2005). The actor then signed for a part in the period psychodrama Atonement; while the film clocked in as an arthouse hit, the role merely constituted a bit part and did little to increase Renier's global recognition even as it thrust him onto the international stage. The actor followed it up with a supporting role as Eirik in Jérémie Renier's crime-themed action comedy In Bruges (2008).


Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2003 for her leading role in Niki Caro's Whale Rider, Castle-Hughes was 13 years of age, the youngest ever best actress nominee.  The role also won her the Chicago Film Festival Award as Most Promising Performer and the NZ Film Awards recognized her as Best Actress.

In 2005 she was cast in a cameo role as Queen of Naboo, in George Lucas' third film in the blockbuster series Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
For director Cathrine Hardwicke she took the role of young Mary in The Nativity Story in 2006, and the same year starred in the Australian comedy Hey Hey, It's Ester Blueburger, written and directed by Cathy Randall.


Gaspard Ulliel has been nominated thrice for Most Promising Male Newcomer at the César Awards (the equivalent of the Oscars in France) in 2003, 2004 and 2005; he won the last one. Ulliel's lead roles include The Last Day (2004), Jacquou le croquant (2007) and Hannibal Rising (2007), his first major English-language film.
It all began when Ulliel was 12 years old when he appeared in the TV film "Une femme en blanc" (1997).

During the following years, Ulliel continued working on TV and was cast in short films such as Alias (1999). He played a young shepherd who was injured by The Beast in Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001), and was then discovered by director Michel Blanc, who offered him a part in Embrassez qui vous voudrez (2002) which also starred veteran actress Charlotte Rampling. Ulliel then took summer stages at Les Cours Florent and was asked by director André Téchiné to star in Strayed (2003) as Emmanuelle Béart's lover. His role as Manech opposite Audrey Tautou in A Very Long Engagement (2004) brought him to stardom.