By Michael Giltz
Updated May 29, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Bille August’s leisurely dramas may have stumbled of late (Les Miserables, Smilla’s Sense of Snow), but this overlooked gem harks back to his excellent The Best Intentions. Based on Nobel Prize-winning author Selma Lagerlof’s novel, Jerusalem tells the deceptively simple tale of Ingmar and Gertrud, young lovers living in a small Swedish village at the turn of the century. When Ingmar’s older sister — not to mention half the town — falls under the spell of an itinerant preacher, she sells the family farm to move to Jerusalem and gain salvation. Ingmar feels obligated to dump Gertrud and marry the daughter of the land’s new owner. Set adrift, Gertrud follows the other converts. Despairing and beautiful as only a Swedish film can be, Jerusalem is quietly knowing about cults and faith and the price of following your head instead of your heart. A