To call As It Is In Heaven a phenomenon is putting it mildly. The Swedish weepie played for two years straight at Sydney's Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace in the lower north shore suburb of Cremorne, and landed an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film.
Audiences responded in droves to director Kay Pollak’s uplifting story of the transformative power of music and human connection, starring Swedish film and TV favourite, Michael Nyqvist. It continues to be an audience favourite at SBS On Demand.
The story revolves around a world class conductor, Daniel Daréus (Nyqvist), whose demanding career and high profile life takes its toll on his health. A complete physical and emotional breakdown causes him to turn his back on his career and return to Norrland, the village of his youth in a remote part of northern Sweden, for a low-key recovery out of the spotlight. Reluctantly, he agrees to help the local choir hone their harmonising skills. His big city ways bristle with the townsfolk, but the process of drawing out the singers’ hidden gifts reinvigorates his own dormant passion for life.
It’s taken a decade but now a sequel is on its way, with As It is In Heaven 2: Heaven On Earth set to open in limited release on August 4. The film picks up on the same story, to look at the lasting impact of Daniel’s work upon the choir and the wider village.
Before you catch the sequel in cinemas, why not go back to where it all began. Grab the tissues, turn up the volume and stream As It Is in Heaven right now at SBS On Demand.