Saturday, March 31, 2012
2004 Swedish Film AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
An absolutely wonderful film!
Daniel Daréus (Michael Nyqvist) is a successful and internationally renowned conductor whose aspiration is to create music that will open people's hearts. However, after suffering a heart attack on stage at the end of a performance, he retires indefinitely to his childhood village in Sweden where he'd endured severe bullying.
Daniel buys the old elementary school in the village, and it isn't long before he is asked to come along one Thursday night and listen to the choir. He is only asked to listen, and maybe offer some helpful advice, but their intentions of persuading him to help are obvious. He reluctantly agrees to assist. After the parish minister offers him the position of cantor, he accepts and participates in the choir's growth; at the same time rediscovering his own lost joy for music.
Almost immediately, Lena (Frida Hallgren), a young attractive girl in the choir, catches his attention. As they grow closer and fall in love, he realises that he seems to be surrounded in other people's problems: Inger (Ingela Olsson), who is married to the respected minister, Stig (Niklas Falk), fails to develop a love life with her husband; Siv (Ylva Lööf), who finds that she is so obsessive over morality that she cannot enjoy herself; Arne (Lennart Jähkel), who is obsessive about the choir's success, he doesn't realise his own insensitivities; Tore (André Sjöberg), who is mentally retarded but is still insistent on joining the choir; Erik (Lasse Petterson), who has put up with being called "Fatso" by Arne since their childhood; and finally, Gabriella (Helen Sjöholm), who is beaten and abused by her husband, Conny (Per Morberg), who turns out to be Daniel's school bully.
The choir is accepted into the annual "Let the Peoples Sing" competition, and they journey to Austria to perform. On the day of the competition, the choir is on stage ready to sing but Daniel is absent because he suffers a heart attack. As he staggers into the restroom, he hits his head on the piping. As he lies dying on the tiles listening to the choir harmonizing over the loud speakers, the audience harmonizes along, as "one mind and soul."
The final scene is of Daniel's younger self embracing his life's goal--to "create music that will open a person's heart."