As It Is In Heaven

Two days ago I watched a film that shook me to my core. “As It Is In Heaven” is a Swedish film made in 2005. I had never heard of its writer/director, Kay Pollak, nor of its leading actor, Michael Nyqvist. He played a famous conductor who, due to illness,  returns to the village of his youth to rest and, inadvertantly, to face the torments of his childhood. Even then his means of living in the world had been his music; a small violin his voice. This also singled him out for punishment by the relentless bullies with whom he attended school. He escapes the tiny village – with his mother – to continue his musical career, yet it is only when he returns and takes up residence in the schoolhouse that his music can heal him – and others with him.

I have written a very basic plot – leaving out everything. The everything is life lived so passionately and openly, with such raw emotion that watching it one is held frozen to the ridiculous chair one is sitting in. All else vanishes; the limiting circumference of the small screen melts away and one must live what is being lived by very real human beings. The man resumes his child self as he fumbles his way through old patterns of alienation to discover a vulnerability that turns out to be a gift and a curse. His music opens the door to an unimagined fellowship with members of a church choir. This is a rough group, but miraculously willing to engage in very unusual exercises that help them tap into the universal consciousness their souls had forgotten. Intimacy develops, and enemies are roused, but the bond formed and the freedom realized is too powerful to be contained.

Again I find myself trying to tell – to describe, when all  I want is to share what probably can’t be shared: My own emotional response – my soul’s waking to itself – through this film. True, it reminded me of experiences I have had through dancing – and even through teaching – when a nakedness of soul allowed a transcendant joining that one wouldn’t have thought possible on the physical plain. It must be spiritual, yet it comes about through intensely physical surrender. I fear that once it has been experienced, one moves through the precious ordinariness of everyday life in a state of continual yearning for what one knows is possible. One lacks and longs.

I loved the man portrayed in this film. Concentrated as the film was, he seemed ever an innocent child in his capacity for braving the exaltation and its dangers. I am so grateful to have braved them with him for that short space of time – to have traveled beyond my own fears to hover with him in that place where earth is heaven and heaven is earth.

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2 Responses to “As It Is In Heaven”

  1. Kendall Says:

    I absolutely loved it! I saw it last winter (thanks to Netflix). I know exactly what you mean. I gave it five stars. You just gave it a sixth.

  2. leiflife Says:

    Of course you know exactly what I mean…

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