Screened as part of NZIFF 2007

The Monastery 2006

Mr. Vig and the Nun

Directed by Pernille Rose Grønkjær

Award-winning documentary about an eccentric elderly man who dreams of turning his castle into a monastery and the Russian Orthodox nun with ideas of her own about how it should be done.

Denmark In Danish, English and Russian with English subtitles
84 minutes DigiBeta

Director, Photography


Jens Arentzen
Per K. Kirkegaard
Pernille Rose Grønkjær


Pernille Bech Christensen
Theis Schmidt


Johan Söderqvist


Amsterdam Documentary 2006; Sundance, San Francisco 2007


Elderly and deeply eccentric Mr Vig has long harboured the notion that the dilapidated castle he bought some years back for a song could be home to a monastery. He persuades the Russian Orthodox Church of Moscow to consider his offer and Sister Amvrosija arrives with a small entourage and plans to whip the place into shape. The place is a mess and Mr Vig's attempted cleanup with a shovel and a brush has had little effect on 20 years of accumulated dust. Sister Amvrosija insists upon extensive repairs, but Mr Vig is resistant to such drastic changes. Their contest of wills plays out in humorous, offbeat encounters that take unexpected turns. Pernille Rose Grønkjær's award-winning documentary becomes a touching portrait of a man who can be quixotic and cranky, and of a relationship between two obstinate people who find common ground. Her film is often wry, frequently amusing and always empathetic in crafting a tale about the unforeseen consequences of making dreams come true, of illusions, self-delusion and disillusionment.