The Monastery: Mr. Vig and the Nun

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


Wills are tested, and lives are changed forever in this heartwarming and often-hilarious documentary that tells the story of two very different, yet equally obstinate, people thrown together by chance—or destiny. Lovable, eccentric, and decidedly set in his ways, Mr. Vig is an 82-year-old virgin living alone in a dilapidated castle in the Danish countryside. Sister Ambrosija is a young, ambitious, headstrong Russian Orthodox nun (think "control freak").

All his life, Mr. Vig has dreamed of turning his castle into a Russian orthodox monastery. His dream may finally come true when the patriarchate agrees to send nuns and priests to appraise and help develop the site. The delegation is led by Sister Ambrosija, who has her own ideas about the way a monastery should look and be run.

Director Pernille Rose Grønkjær unwittingly becomes an unseen character in her own delightfully unique documentary. Mr. Vig asks the filmmaker for advice and, at times, even help with the chores as Sister Ambrosija's demands for repairs pile up. Painterly cinematography captures the fallen majesty of the castle in subdued hues, while casual interviews explore Mr. Vig's childhood and his views on life, love, religion, and even Sister Ambrosija, his nemesis, who becomes, arguably, his closest friend.

— David Courier

Screening Details

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