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The Swell Season

Posted by martinteller on April 5, 2015

A tour documentary featuring The Swell Season, the duo consisting of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.  Their collaboration was presented in a fictionalized format in the beautiful film Once, an endeavor which won them an Oscar and gave them international fame.  They also began a romantic relationship during the making of the movie, after many years of Hansard mentoring Irglova (he is 17 years her senior).  As they tour and deal with success, it puts a strain on their personal relationship and perhaps their musical one as well.

Unfortunately, the film is frustratingly thin on context, and will probably be of little interest or enlightenment to those who aren’t already fans and know the history of their partnership.  There are some interesting moments… Hansard’s family life, Irglova’s discomfort taking pictures with admirers, an argument over Hansard’s attitude… and of course, the performances.  But the filmmaking feels rather self-consciously “hands off” to the point of leaving the unconverted in the dark.  I also felt the choice to use black and white cinematography, although aesthetically pleasant, was an unnecessary affectation.

As a fan, I enjoyed it.  But I wouldn’t recommend it for a general audience.  Rating: Fair (68)


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