The Dalai Lama

“I loved it very much. I think... the film is a great metaphor about life.
It teaches... about hope, acceptance and balance”
- Za Choeje Rinpoche (from Dalai Lama Visit) -

Dalai lama the vintners luck

After seeing the initial screening of The Vintner's Luck the Dalai Lama Visit Trust New Zealand invited director Niki Caro to be a part of the public event with His Holiness and have worked with her and Za Choeje Rinpoche to create a post-screening dialogue.   

This is a provocative film that has inspired polarized responses. This is an opportunity for a deeper discussion about the themes of the film and how they are received. It is for a broad audience who would like to contribute to the conversation.  It is for anybody who would like to speak truthfully from their hearts, but fear attack...



The Toronto Film Festival

In 2009 "The Vintner's Luck" premiered as an Official Selection at the Toronto Film Festival to a sold out audience. Since its first screening, it has won multiple awards, including:

2010 Qantas Film & Television Awards:
   Best Lead Actress (Vera Farmiga)
   Best Production Design (Grant Major)
   Best Costume Design (Beatrix Pasztor)

44th Annual WorldFest Houston Intenational Film Festival 2011:
   Gold Remi Best Directing    Special Jury Award: Best Foreign Film 2011

Sedona International Film Festival:
   Best Period Film


The Shoot and Location Scouting

The Wings

Director's Statement

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.  

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