Have you ever talked to a kid who has never heard of The Red Hot Chili Peppers or The Beatles for that matter? You look at the kid as if maybe all is not right between those little ears and wonder how their exposure could be so incredibly narrow. Last week I had to look in the mirror at the space between my own ears to ask myself a similar question; how on earth did I miss out on the 2006 film Once? Or the lead actors/musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglorva for that matter?
Although Once was produced in 2006 on a meager budget of $160,000, and didn’t really hit the streets running until 2007, it is far from a hidden Indy treasure. It won a 2008 Oscar for best original song, for God’s sake!
Once is the type of film that slowly opens your heart to the character’s struggles and leads you to a renewed sense of hope. Set in Dublin, the film is about an Irish busker who meets a Czech immigrant. Although he plays great covers, she notices and appreciates his original songs. She is also a musician, and as a friendship and potential romance grows between them, they set out to record his works.
As a musician who has been enmeshed in the beauty of creating music with others, I was completely drawn to both Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglorva’s musical performances. Although the Oscar award winning track “Falling Slowly” was fantastic, I found myself on youtube more than once listening to “When Your Mind’s Made up.” Even though the lyrics are repetitive, the song drives me into a frenzy of creative energy. I find myself turning up the volume, my own energy surging as the song builds into a crescendo of the main chorus. A day later, I heard the same song down the hall emanating from my husband’s office. Clearly I wasn’t the only one taken with the music in our household.
You know you are doing something you love when you lose all sense of time. Jamming with other musicians is such a world and Once captures the essence of this experience on more than one occasion.
After watching the movie, I wanted to know if these two characters had lives outside the film and boy was I surprised to learn that Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglorva had a band together called The Swell Season. And on top of that, they were indeed a couple after making the film.
Upon reading this, I felt some great sense of victory, as if a heart warming fictional story had spilled over into reality. But I did not get to cherish this real love story for long, as further reading divulged that the relationship ended a few years later. Yet the friendship remained, as they continued to play music together.
And of course Glen Hansard isn’t just some unknown musician who was hired to do a movie. He is the founder of a famous Irish Rock Band called The Frames. He’s played all over the world, as a matter of fact.
If you feel like receiving bittersweet inspiration, then check out this film and the musicians!
9 out of 10.