Skip to main content

MCA: Three Rare Faces of Change

Article by: Taha Elkhalifa*

Watching the 2004 Swedish movie As It Is in Heaven directed by Kay Pallok, starring Michael Nyqvist as Daniel Dareus and Frida Hallgren as Lena, brings to mind two ideas. The first one is about the Quiet Revolution in Canada's Quebec, which denoted the socioeconomic changes in Quebec of the 1960's where the liberals and the leftists were able to ascend to power through election after the death of the late conservative Quebec Premier Duplessis. Those changes from conservatism to liberalism; from economic backwardness to development and progress were made possible by the nationalization of hydroelectric power from private companies and by imposing a public educational system that ended the sad control of the church over schools, colleges and universities. The second idea that the movie brought to my mind was about the magnificent short story written by the late Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez entitled The Handsomest Drowned Man in The World. My deep and heartily condolences go to lovers of narrative art on the occasion of the sad passing away of such a great international writer in April.

M. Nykvist
In the movie Daniel Dareus (Michael Nykvist), an international musician who has been nominated to various awards, returns to his village that is torn apart by domestic violence and a long history of bullying which victimized even Dareus himself. He tries to achieve a dream from his childhood to make everyone sing; to enjoy music by more than listening to it. Michael participates by leading the church chorus. During rehearsals for some scheduled shows change takes place in the lives of the villagers as they find solutions for families that pass through difficult times because of domestic violence, and ideas to resolve the consequences of bullying in the lives of its victims when they become grown ups. Ideas to make the church holds its responsibilities as a beneficial spiritual institution, and ideas to achieve the dreams of young girls such as Lena to find the lover who can suit her aspirations.

Esteban, the name given to the handsome drowned man’s body washed to the shore by the women of the village, was able to cause change in the village as handsome, inspiring and dead. His sudden presence as a dead body in the village transformed it from an arid place on both the natural and social levels to a place flourishing with love and throbbing with life.


As I think, the movie and the short story suggest that the execution of revolutionary change in a community might not always need mass demonstrations and/or military revolutionary actions that would overthrow the existing power and replace it by a new government that achieves programs which meet the demands of people for positive and progressive changes. According to the movie and the short story social progressive change can be brought about through peaceful, subtle and keen social processes that find the chance to impose change by letting creativity do its role in assembling the abilities and efforts of ordinary people to make positive change possible and attainable. Both the movie and the short story represent an account of social change in its broad meaning.

"Heaven is blue; hell is red"

The Quiet Revolution in Quebec was not more than necessary administrational procedures that led in the end to dramatic positive change in Quebeckers lives, the same as the presence of Esteban’s body in the village in Marquez’s story and similar to the return of Daniel Dareus to his village chasing his childhood dreams in the 2004 Swedish movie of Kay Pollak.
In the following YouTube clip, Swedish director Kay Pollak talks about his movie:

Summary of the Movie Plot

A successful international conductor suddenly interrupts his career and returns alone to his childhood village in Norrland, in the far north of Sweden.It doesn't take long before he is asked to come and listen to the fragment of a church choir, which practices every Thursday in the parish hall. Just come along and give a little bit of good advice. He can't say no, and from that moment, nothing in the village is the same again. The choir develops and grows. He makes both friends and enemies. And he finds love.

As It Is In Heaven (2004) 

Genre:  Drama-Comedy-musical, 132 min.
Country: Sweden, Denmark.
Written by: Anders Nyberg, Ola Olsson and others.
Cast: Michael Nykvist, Frida Hallgren, Helen Sjoholm
Music Score: Stefan Nilsson
Directed by: Kay Pollak
As It Is in Heaven was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 77th Academy Awards. It won several European prizes. The movie is available on YouTube in different languages, possibly in English.

* Taha Elkhalifa is a Sudanese Canadian scholar and the winner of a major literary prize in Sudan. He lives in Scarborough, Ontario.
Art by: Seif Laota.


Popular posts from this blog

سؤال الضهبان

سؤال الضهبان
لا تظنن أنه سؤال هيّن! أو عليك أن تتأكد أن السائل لم يعد ضهبان. وحتى في هذه الحالة ربما لم يجد الجواب ولكنه فقط تحوّل من (الضهب) إلى حالة أحسن نسبياً ودون تفسير. أي سؤال هو ليس بالهيّن. وأي سؤال هو لم يُسأل عبثاً ولهوا. زي، يلاقيك زول ويسأل: كيف اصبحت؟ تجربة وجودية عديل كدا. طيب تعال شوف كمية التزوير في الجواب! طبعاً مافي زول بيجاوب على السؤال دا بالضبط كدا. كلنا تقريبين في السؤال دا وفي غيره من اسئلة كثيرة. الجواب هو المصطنع في أغلب الأحوال وليس السؤال! ياخي حتى السؤال الغبي، الواحد بيتمرمط أمامه. لذلك سؤال الضهبان دا هو موئل الغناء والشعر الكاذب والبطولات! ومن الناس من يحاول أن يغشك! إنهم أهل الاجابات الذين تتكوّر ذواتهم في نهايات الأسطر، مدلهّمة. نقطة سطر جديد! - هوي انت هه! يعني شايل ليك اجابة كدا وفرحان بيها، قايل السؤال مات!؟ دعني أقول لك: جميع الأسئلة التي سمعت والتي لم تسمع بها، جميعها تتمتع بخلود مطلق! السؤال فيهو حيوية والاجابة ديمة نايصة. السؤال بيخلع وجامد. الجواب هو ختة النَفَس، التقية من عصف المشاعر. السؤال، أي سؤال، فيهو قوة، فيهو شواظ وبيطقطق زي قندول عيش ريف معذّب. الاج…

جليد نساي، المقال كامللاً

جليد نسّاي
قراءة في رواية الرجل الخراب
تأليف عبد العزيز بركة ساكن بقلم مصطفى مدثر
الجزء الأول

أيها القارئ المرائي، يا شبيهي، يا أخي - بودلير، شاعر فرنسي الفكرة الرئيسة [عند إليوت] هي أننا، حتى ونحن ملزمون بأن نعي ماضوية الماضي..، لا نملك طريقة عادلة لحجر الماضي عن الحاضر. إن الماضي والحاضر متفاعمان، كلٌ يشي بالآخر ويوحي به، وبالمعنى المثالي كلياً الذي ينتويه إليوت ، فإن كلاً منهما يتعايش مع الآخر. ما يقترحه ت س  إليوت بإيجاز هو رؤيا للتراث الأدبي لا يوجهها كلياً التعاقب الزمني، رغم أنها تحترم هذا التعاقب. لا الماضي ولا الحاضر، ولا أي شاعر أو فنان، يملك معنىً كاملاً منفرداً- إدوارد سعيد، أستاذ الأدب الإنجليزي الطريق إلى الحقيقة يمر بأرض الوساوس - شانون برودي، عاملة صيدلية.

يبدو مفارقاً، بل غرائبياً، أن تُهرع  لقصيدة ت س إليوت (الأرض الخراب) كي تعينك على فهم استلهام عبد العزيز بركة ساكن لها في كتابة روايته القصيرة، الرجل الخراب. فالمفارقة هي أن القصيدة المكتوبة في 1922، وبما عُرف عنها من تعقيد ووعورة، تحتاج هي نفسها لعشرات الشروحات، لكونها مغرقة في الإحالات لتواريخ وثقافات وأديان، بل ولغات أ…

MovieGlobe: Japan's Version of Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet (2007) JapanOriginal Article by: Fateh Mirghani-Japan

I have just finished watching the masterpiece of Shakespeare” Romeo and Juliet “in its Japanese version.
The quality of the movie is great and the soundtrack, injected with a little Japanese folklore music, has given it a sensational dimension and Eastern fascination!
Basically, the theme of the movie remains the same as the original play, and that has been a particular Japanese notion in dealing with other nations’ cultural products. Part of the reason may lay in Japan's sensitivity to other nations’cultural products- given the long standing historical disputes with its neighbours, and part of it may lay in a fierce sense of homogeneity that has come to characterize Japan as an island nation-state since time immemorial. Thus the Japanese, unlike the Americans, don’t seem to have the temerity to ‘Japanize’ others’ cultural stuff. The movie “Renaissance man”  can be cited as an example of American boldness. The …