Conductor Reinbert de Leeuw (born in 1937) is about to live one of his most cherished dreams: conducting Arnold Schönberg's Gurre-Lieder, a remarkably intense high point in post-romantic music. The film shows him during the 10 days of rehearsals leading up to the sold-out concert, where he stands before a student orchestra of 356 musicians. De Leeuw has been living and breathing the work, it's almost like a love affair. Inspired but exhausted, he imparts all his energy to the orchestra only taking the occasional short smoke break.
The film Extase, by Carine Bijlsma won the Honorable Mention at DOXA festival. "This film captures the transcendent power of music through the journey of an impassioned conductor and instills in the viewer a belief in the necessity of art in all of our lives."