The Swell Season
This tour docshot in moody, close-up-heavy black-and-whitetraces a few years on the road with Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, real-life musical collaborators in the band the Swell Season who starred in the 2007 Irish indie musical hit Once, fell in love while making the film, won an Oscar for writing its music, and broke up while touring America in its aftermath. Onces unlikely success and the ensuing May-December relationship between Irglová (who was 17 when the film was shot) and world-weary, fortyish Hansard created the marketable myth of a creative partnership leading to true love, which made an apparently never-ending American tour possible. The Swell Season documents that myths undoinga dissolution that almost necessarily remains hidden from the fans drawn to the bands shows by Hansard and Irglovás rags-to-riches-plus-romance fairy tale. (An autograph hound gushes, I hope you guys make it to the end of time!) Exceedingly nonlinear, the film is a jumble of fragmentsperformances, vérité footage backstage, a few contextualizing interviewseach offering real-world evidence to puncture a fans fantasy version of Hansard and Irglová as lovers meant to beat the odds. For those fans, The Swell Season might seem like a bittersweet revelation, proof that these stars are, in the sheer banality of their everyday angst, just like us. (Although their ability to continue the professional relationship after the romance ends seems superhuman.) But to viewers without a preexisting emotional relationship to the couple and their saga, that everyday angst is just banal.
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