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The world fell in love with Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová when their songwriting collaboration in the film Once (2007) culminated in a jubilant Oscar win. But behind the scenes, where Glen and Mar's on-screen romance became reality, a grueling two-year world tour threatens to fracture their fated bond. Filmed in black and white, this music-filled documentary is an intimate look at the exhilaration and turmoil created by both love and fame. Written by
First, full disclosure. I am friends with two of the filmmakers--Chris Dapkins and Carlo Mirabella-Davis--and their parents. In fact, Chris Dapkins grew up a mile and a half down the road, which in our part of rural upstate New York made us the equivalent of next-door neighbors.
So I was prepared to like The Swell Season. But to be stunned by it?
Though I am no longer a fan of pop music, I sat absolutely riveted through every frame of this extraordinary story of two performers on tour in public and private. The choice of black and white photography was just right, and the filmmakers let their narrative unfold in a straightforward fashion without adornment or visual gimmicks.
I loved the music by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, and ached at the sad poignancy of their gradual breakup. Their doomed romance took me back to that brief but legendary love affair between Joan Baez and Bob Dylan in those younger days in the 1960s when I cared deeply about such public matters of the heart.
Ron Bailey, author and retired journalist
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