Danish director Tea Lindeburg’s film, As In Heaven, is a lush and devastating chamber piece, unpicking the dense fabric of motherhood, innocence and superstition. Based on the 1912 Danish novel A Night of Death, and set in 19th century rural Denmark, the film follows Lise (Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl) as she navigates a life-changing event on her home farm. Lindeburg’s film is populated with hordes of boisterous, wild-haired children (Lise’s siblings) and heightened by swathes of bucolic farmland that rustle with spirits of their own. Around these charmed elements swarm sinister undercurrents in the form of the austere elder women, the volatility of Lise’s father, and most pervasive of all, the threat of punishment from God.

Taking influence from the Terrence Malick, Andrea Arnold and Jane Campion school of period film, As in Heaven is concerned portraying the past with a palpable, lived-in style – the fecund earth envelops the children and the camera is nimble and childlike in turn, lingering on trapped insects and trailing curtains. What’s more, Lindeburg does a commendable job of instilling her characters with an urgency and irreverence that feels acutely modern.

Incorporating elements of body horror, nightmarish vision and the uncanny, Lise’s loss of innocence is both a cautionary tale and an urgent account of the interference of religious dogma in natural processes. More directly, it is tale about inter-generational motherhood, the shortcomings of which scar children with irreversible effect.

Though not ground-breaking in its portrayal of the hardships of women throughout history, Lindeburg’s film is nevertheless an arresting and stylish spyhole into one girl’s burgeoning awareness of self, and ultimately, awareness of sin.



CAST: Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindah, Ida Cæcilie Rasmussen, Albert Rudbeck Lindhardt

DIRECTOR: Tea Lindeburg

WRITER: Tea Lindeburg

SYNOPSIS: Religious dogma, superstition and new life exist in a fine balance in Tea Lindeburg’s guttural period drama, though only one can prevail. As In Heaven is robustly beautiful and tells a story of motherhood distinct from those that precede it.






About The Author


Freelance film writer. Cinematic interests include (but are not limited to): women in film, women being bad in film, food in films, weird snacks that symbolise something else (a hot is never just a hot dog … or however the saying goes), great soundtracks in films, characters singing in their cars, films about drop-out music geeks that pretend to be teachers in order to live out their fantasy at a local rock gig (yes, School of Rock is in my top 5).