SÅ SOM I HIMMELEN (2004)
(As It is in Heaven)
|ROLE: Music conductor Daniel
GENRE: Romantic drama
SWEDISH PREMIERE: September 3, 2004
Daniel Daréus is a successful
international conductor at the peak of his career.
However, in private, he is lonely, miserable and
exhausted by the demands of his high profile lifestyle.
After suffering a physical and emotional breakdown,
Daniel abruptly interrupts his career and returns,
alone, to Norrland, the village of his childhood located
in a remote part of northern Sweden. No sooner does he
arrive home than his fame makes him the object of
curiosity, fascination and suspicion. Before long, he is
asked to come and “offer a bit of good advice” to the
small church choir, which practices every Thursday in
the parish hall.
Daniel resists being
dragged back into the spotlight, yet he finds that there
is no way he can gracefully refuse the choir's request
and, reluctantly, he agrees to help. As he begins to
work with the choir, Daniel, quite to his own surprise,
begins to rediscover his long-lost love of music.
But Daniel’s work with the choir poses a serious threat
to the town’s status quo, and Daniel finds himself
surrounded by enemies – including the jealous parish
priest and a dangerous and violent enemy from his past.
At the same time Daniel makes new friends, among them
the lovely and sensitive Lena, a woman who helps him
overcome his fear and loneliness. Both Daniel’s life,
and village life, will never be the same again.
Cast & Credit Details
Michael Nyqvist - Daniel Daréus
Frida Hallgren - Lena
Helen Sjöholm - Gabriella
Lennart Jähkel - Arne
Ingela Olsson - Inger
Niklas Falk - Stig
Per Morberg - Conny
Ylva Lööf - Siv
André Sjöberg - Tore
* * * * *
Director - Kay Pollack
Screenplay - Anders Nyberg, Ola Olsson, Carin Pollak,
Kay Pollak and Margaretha Pollak
Cinematography - Harald Gunnar & Paalgard
Music - Stefan Nilsson
* * * * *
(Pollak directs Michael)
(Gabriella's Song with movie clips)
(Trailer with English subtitles)
Pollak had a lot of interests, and his desire to explore them
on film never diminished. It was his wife who gave him the idea for this film.
He explains, "She sang in a choir and I used to go to pick her up. I listened to
the choir and studied it, and I gradually realized what a metaphor for humanity
a choir is. I did not know then that this is the largest cultural movement in
Sweden - that close to 700,000 people take part in choir-practice every week."
As this interest developed, Pollak started to study this folk movement more
closely. He spoke at length with choir-leaders and gradually a script started to
evolve. When the script was ready, he presented it to producers Anders Birkeland
and Göran Lindström, who sent the script to Peter Possne at Sonet Film. Possne
says, "I got the script on a Friday afternoon, and on Saturday morning I called
and said 'I'm in'. I have never made such a decision as fast before - the script
was so good."
For Pollak, this dramatic story could only be set in the far
north of Sweden. "I wanted to be able to use the contrasts between the summer,
with its special light - and the winter, with its harsh weather and
snow-storms." Art director Mona Theresia Forsén toured the north of Sweden,
scouting for locations. She found several perfect settings, which meant only two
interiors had to built. These were the old school-house, and the church where
the choir practises. The rest were already there.
When it came to casting, Pollak had already pictured Michael
Nyqvist and Frida Hallgren as the two leads. The shoot was long, and sometimes
turbulent. Editing took place in the spring and summer of 2004, with editor
Tomas Täng, of whom Pollak speaks very highly. He says, "I'm grateful God sent
him in my way. That man is a genius."
captured the hearts of the Swedish audience and became
one of the most successful films in Sweden. In February
2005 the film was screened at the Berlin International
Film Festival in the series, "Berlinale Special". It
received an Oscar nomination for "Best Foreign Film" and
was also nominated for no less than eight Guldbagge
Awards and shockingly failed to pick up any awards. The
categories were: Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting
Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay.
A sequel was made in 2015
with Frida Hallgren in the same role as Lena, who gives birth to Daniel's child.
It's called "Så ock på jorden" (Heaven on Earth).
|Berlinale Special -
BIFF - February 2005
"A beautifully crafted film with some outstanding performances. It
tells a very human story with fully realized characters, but it is
also a story about community and art. The choir can only achieve
harmony by being open and honest with themselves and each other. It's
also a meditation on the relationship between art and organized
religion. Its Oscar nomination was well-deserved."
"This film, full of emotions and noble feelings and
designed to attract the wide-public, was chosen to
represent Sweden at the Academy Awards as Best Foreign Film.
Pollak manages to mix humor and melancholy to tell us with natural
simplicity about destiny, about loving music and
rediscovering life. His refreshing approach is
emphasized by the picture enhancing the soft colours of
a Scandinavian summer... It was Pollak's first film after 18 years of absence.
He said, 'I needed to stay still all this time and solve
personal issues. Then I wrote this film and met Per
Nielsen from the Swedish Film Institute. He was
available and wished to finance my project.'" ...Cineuropa
"Kay Pollak has made a beautiful
movie in several ways: the film itself is well-made, but
above all the action is interesting. It is easy to
follow while it has several important messages... The actors are supreme and very convincing. Michael
Nyqvist does one of his best roles. It's so beautiful to
see him so it hurts at the end. Clearly efforts
by all the actors also enhance the movie." ...Per Ganbar,
"An astonishing Swedish drama about a church choir and
its creative director who take a meaningful and loving
journey together. Writer and director Kay Pollak has
created an emotionally rich drama that vividly conveys
both the delights and the challenges of small town
living. The intimacy that blooms between Daniel and Lena
happens very slowly and enables Daniel to confront his
own fears and lack of trust in other people. Lena helps
him see that he needs a more balanced life; ironically
this comes as she teaches him how to ride a bicycle.
Inger, the minister's wife, finds herself liberated
through Daniel's teachings and emboldened to tell her
husband that she no longer believes in sin. Their
marriage is rocked by the changes the outsider has
brought to the community. For Daniel, the biggest
surprise is that his love for these quirky people
enables him to at last fulfill the mission of his life -
to create music that will open a person's heart."
...Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
a story that affects enormously on many levels.
One cries and laughs alternately when Pollak
orchestrates the scenes properly... Beautiful
photography, superb music by Stefan Nilsson and, not least, amazing acting.
Nyqvist is both charismatic and vulnerable in the film's
center... And Frida Hallgren embodies Lena's joyful and beautiful beauty queen with such charm and
intensity that there can be no man who doesn't want to take her in
his arms and hug her when the movie is over."
...Jan-Olov Andersson, Aftonbladet