How Far Is Heaven

How Far Is Heaven

How Far Is Heaven

From Chris Pryor (cinematographer on Florian Habicht's early films) and writer Miriam Smith, an observational documentary about the Sisters of Compassion congregation who have lived in the remote village of Jerusalem / Hiruharama on the Whanganui River for 120 years. Today, only three nuns remain.

Jerusalem is the home of "powerful dualities": Maori and Christian spirituality, gang parties and prayers, pig hunting and perfume appreciation... Through four seasons, the film follows the community and in particular the journey of Sister Margaret Mary, the newest Sister to Jerusalem and regular volunteer at the local school.

Though perhaps most famous for poet James K. Baxter’s commune in the '70’s, Maori (Ngati Hau) have lived in Jerusalem for countless generations. In 1892 Suzanne Aubert founded the Sisters of Compassion order, the only homegrown Catholic order in New Zealand. Today the average residential population of the Jerusalem village is 30 people.

Winner Documentary Cinematography at the NZ Film Awards 2012.
2012Rating: M, contains offensive language98 minsNew Zealand
Documentary
89%
want to see

Streaming (3 Providers)

Reviews & comments

Colloquial Cutey

Very much the bitter with the sweet with the Nuns trying to do good work in a difficult part of the country. Some of the locals filmed are quite engaging and no matter how difficult their lives might be they hold on to an intrinsic love and respect for the land and its people. The longer the film progresses the deeper and more spontaneous the relationship...

4.0

A wonderful portrayal of the special life that goes on in Jerusalem!

I saw this film at the "Film Talk" event at the Rialto Cinemas Newmarket, and was able to talk to the filmmakers afterwards. This documentary film is a wonderful portrayal of life where the white Sisters of Compassion have been welcomed and accepted as Tangata Whenua of this area. Taking the film-viewer through four seasons in the village, the seasons...

4.0
Sunday Star-Times

Sunday Star-Times

press

How Far is Heaven's grace and subtlety lends weight to how we can justify calling our country Godzone.

4.0
New Zealand Listener

New Zealand Listener

press

In its quiet way, this is a moving, challenging piece of work.

4.0
Sunday Star-Times

Sunday Star-Times

press

How Far is Heaven's grace and subtlety lends weight to how we can justify calling our country Godzone.

4.0
New Zealand Listener

New Zealand Listener

press

In its quiet way, this is a moving, challenging piece of work.

4.0

Colloquial Cutey

Very much the bitter with the sweet with the Nuns trying to do good work in a difficult part of the country. Some of the locals filmed are quite engaging and no matter how difficult their lives might be they hold on to an intrinsic love and respect for the land and its people. The longer the film progresses the deeper and more spontaneous the...

4.0

A wonderful portrayal of the special life that goes on in Jerusalem!

I saw this film at the "Film Talk" event at the Rialto Cinemas Newmarket, and was able to talk to the filmmakers afterwards. This documentary film is a wonderful portrayal of life where the white Sisters of Compassion have been welcomed and accepted as Tangata Whenua of this area. Taking the film-viewer through four seasons in the village, the seasons...

4.0