Movie review As it is in heaven

The movie `As it is in heaven` was directed by Kay Pollak and produced by Goran Lindstron. It was released in theaters in August 2004 though it debuted in Australia much later in 2006. The movie features Michael Nyqvist, Frida Hallgren and Helen Sjoholm. The film is about the life of one famous music conductor, Daniel Daréus who retreats to his rural home after developing health complications that forces him into early retirement. The film portrays the slow life of rural areas through a number of themes as discussed below which is in stark difference of the description of urban life in urban Living.
1. Neighborhood / Community environment
The rural neighborhood where Daniel retreats to appears calm and relatively undeveloped. The streets are relatively cleared compared to urban centers discussed in Urban Living (281). While of the book seeks to portray the world as one chaotic place, the rural neighborhood in Sweden is an icon of tranquility. This is evident in one scene where Daniel is able to watch a rabbit from the window of his house. The society is also secluded from modern influences. This is indicated by the naivety of the people who view Daniel as an outsider. Some even go as a far as peeping through doors to know what is going on.
Again, the people have embraced nature as natural and rightfully theirs. This is indicated by the fact that there is no heating system in the houses as most of them use firewood. Daniel is seen struggling by shivering and attempting to warm his feet in warm water. In another case, Daniel has a very different perspective of nature. While Daniel appreciates the hare outside his window and even takes a photograph of the animal, another man views the hare as a meal and shoots it disabling the animal. Other than that, the man hits the nimble animal against a metallic pole to kill it and gives the dead animal to the local parish priest who does not even blink at the inhuman treatment of the animal.
Type of food and sourcing is very different in rural Sweden to what is portrayed in Urban Living about urban centers. Urban Living seems implies that the high population in urban centers exhausts resources such as food. While food is readily available in the rural areas, some individuals in the urban centers scavenge for food in sprawling markets. The rural folks can obtain their food through hunting.
2) Urban and rural Distinction between the two cultures
Suspicion seems to be very common among the people. This is indicated by the attitude of the parish priest towards the relationship between his wife who is a choir member and Daniel. The same is evident when Daniel encounters the hostility of one his childhood enemies. The man attempts to shoot Daniel when he tries to intervene when the couple was fighting at their home.
The rural folks do not appreciate basic etiquette unlike the urban folks of the modern society. This is evident in the manner that the residents handle usage of cell phones. During the choir training sessions, majority of them are interrupted by mobile phones ringing. Far from hat is common in modern societies, the individuals go ahead and answer the calls right there in the hall without excusing themselves. Another man also brings his noisy dog to the choir session much to the annoyance of Daniel. However, Daniel does not protest as the rest of the people present seem undisturbed by this.
3) Individual freedom in rural communities
Individual freedoms are almost nonexistent in the village. This is clear in the manner that some of the men are opposed to their wives participating in the choir soon after Daniel takes over as their trainer. In fact, almost all of the women featured in the film seem to be experiencing some form of oppression from the men in their lives. It appears that divorce is unheard of among these folks. This differs greatly with the urban societies in the modern society and the one discussed by Urban Living.
Although Lena and Daniel are two consenting adults who have feelings for one another, some church members are too quick to judge the two. They are specifically worried that Daniel is not interested in the choir but Lena.
4) Everybody is too close in rural communities
The rural areas are not densely populated and hence everybody knows everybody. This is evident in the way that people relate. They are also very quick to notice the presence of Daniel as a stranger.
The parish priest also displays this level of excessive closeness when he chooses to observe how Daniel conducts training in the choir. He sits behind the hall and watches much to the disdain of Daniel. This is very different in the modern urbanized society where everybody seems to mind his or her own business. In the rural setting in Sweden, one`s business appears to be everyone`s business.
When Daniel seems to develop a romantic relationship with one choir member names Lena, majority of the community members among them the parish priest seem opposed to it. Furthermore, when Lena and Daniel take time off to relax by cycling around to a nearby lake, Lena does not hold back from stripping in front Daniel for a swim in the open. Daniel is not comfortable with this and as a result, he takes off.
5. Neighborhood support or lack of support
The community environment in Sweden is very different from the environment in the city that Daniel was used to. While the urban community treated Daniel with a lot of respect as a celebrity, the rural community is not very much concerned about his expertise in music. While members of the urban community followed him to sign autographs for them, some of the rural folks view him with suspicion and derision. One of them is the parish priest who is very jealous of him when he takes over training the local church`s choir. While Daniel sees an opportunity to improve the local community through the best way he knows how, some are worried that he is disturbing the status quo.
The community is accommodating and supportive of one another. This is seen with the level of closeness that the choir members show to one another. Furthermore, when a young man show seems to be mentally disabled attempts to join the choir in singing, the choir members support him by singing in the best way he can.
Church members show excellent support to Daniel in recognition of his contributions to the church. Lena leads other members to Daniel`s home when they learn that the parish priest had banished him from the church as a result of his alleged closeness with Lena, a church member, and the priest`s wife. However, the society lacks support especially for the women facing abuse from their partners. A case in point is the priest`s wife and one of the choir members. In any urban society, such cases of physical abuse are likely to be reported to authorities for necessary action.
Works cited
Latin American “Street Children”: Living on the Edge. p. 281. Print
Parker, Steve. “Movie Review: As it is in heaven”,2008 p 20. Available online at

Close Menu