Opening 20 Oct 2005
Daniel (Michael Nyquist) was brutally bullied as a child for playing a violin in the wheat fields of the Swedish countryside. His mother, being sympathetic to the undue scrutiny and very proud of his talent, relocated the family to another part of Sweden where Daniel could develop his musical gift. His mother was his gallant savior and confidant until her sudden death on his thirteenth birthday. To underscore his loneliness, he committed himself day and night to his studies. He eventually became one of the most famous orchestra conductors in all of Europe. He was famous for his abilities but a very demanding conductor. He was a perfectionist to a fault that eventually led to the onslaught of a heart attack that forced him to leave the profession that he had held so dear to his heart. Feeling a longing to return to his roots, Daniel is hired by the Swedish community of his childhood to direct the church choir. He purchases the old schoolhouse, sets up residence and cautiously begins to engage himself among the community. While the job of choir director is new for him, he is challenged by the decisions he will have to make to make this choir sing like one voice. Aside from showing up to practice, one of the main stipulations that he required of his choir members was that they be honest and trusting of one another. The deepest secrets of each member begins to unfold and Daniel’s church choir begins to live out the full sentence in the Lord’s Prayer, ….On earth, as it is in heaven….
In spite of the fact that Swedish director Kay Pollak doesn’t categorize his latest work as a religious film or encounter, he does address issues dealing with the importance of being a good person, loving oneself and doing the right thing by others. Where do we go to find guidelines for being a good person? For ages, the Bible has been a source for teaching goodness with Jesus of Nazareth as the role model. His relational style to earnestly love, accept and forgive others reveals an awesome goodness that has the ability to change lives – for the better.
After an eighteen year absence from film directing, Pollak has returned to the big screen with this film. The 2005 Oscar nomination in the best foreign film category proves that his talent had not dried up but was only "put on hold" for a time. During his absence, he chose to actively parttake in putting the needs of his family as top priority as well as developed other areas of literature that would serve to enhance his film directing abilities. The Swedish cast is delightful, and their interpretation of each character makes this narrative from Pollak on the list of must-see films and well worth the wait. (Karen Pecota)