I want to feel I’m alive

We went to see the film As it is in Heaven (Så som i himmelen) at the Somerville. Setting out to get there for 6.30pm was seen to be a good idea once we got there as there were two long queues to get in. The film was said to be 130 minutes long, and allowing for the advertisements and preview trailers, we were going to be there until 11.00pm. While eating our picnic prior to the screening, H and I agreed that we would not stay if either of us wanted to go – it is a long time to sit not wanting to be there.

The 130 minutes whisked by, and there was no thought of leaving. In fact, most of the audience sat through the credit roll overlayed with the subtitles to the anthem and listened again to the anthem.

Daniel Dareus (Michael Nyqvist), a successful conductor returns to his childhood village after a heart attack. His agent had changed his name when he was 15, so although the village people knew who he was, they did not know that he was from their village. He is persuaded to conduct the church choir.

The choir expect to practise the songs, but Daniel sets them exercises to find their voice tone and balance. The overall theme is the redemptive power of music, and through their singing, the choir members find more then their voice. A review in smh.com.au explains the plot in full (without spoilers) and what the director wished to achieve. If you want the plot with spoilers, see Wikipedia.

I enjoyed the anthem that Daniel composed for Gabriella’s (Helen Sjöholm) solo. It is in Swedish, but I found the English subtitles on MySubtitles.com (starting at line 70):

It is now that my life is mine
I’ve got this short time on earth
and my longing has brought me here
all I lacked
and all I gained
And yet it’s the way that I chose
My trust was far beyond words
That has shown me a little bit
Of the heaven I’ve never found
I want to feel I’m alive

All my living days
I will live as I desire
I want to feel I’m alive
Knowing I was good enough
I have never lost who I was
I have only left it sleeping
Maybe I never had a choice
Just the will to stay alive

All I want is to be happy
Being who I am
To be strong and to be free
To see day arise from night
I am here
And my life is only mine
And the heaven I thought was there
I’ll discover it there somewhere
I want to feel
That I’ve lived my life

This was a very powerful piece. The scene is the village concert, and Gabriella is singing the anthem as a solo with the choir backing her. It is almost as if she is belting out the song to her partner, who we know by that stage is a bully from Daniel’s childhood, and now beats his wife, Gabriella.

The film is about life, daring to be who you are, and following your dream. Daniel’s dream was; “ To create music that opens people’s hearts.” I wish I could sing in Swedish, but I’m happy to take away “I want to feel I’m alive” and “I want to feel That I’ve Lived my life”.

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