There are a lot of interesting looking independent films being released right now and most of them are foreign. My film going circle of friends got together yesterday to see Once, a movie that centers on the two characters shown here, played by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. He plays a street musician who also works in his dad's vacuum cleaner repair shop. She's a recent Czech immigrant to Dublin who lives in a small apartment with her mom and her two year old daughter. The movie is about the music they write, both separately and together.
The movie was made on a tiny budget of about $140,000. There's a crane shot at the end and my friends and I joked that must have cost $70 grand all by itself. The movie is a surprise because all the places where you think there will be a plot point, there isn't. It's not about what you think it's about, unless you think it's about the music.
Hansard played guitar in The Commitments all those many years ago and formed a band called The Frames. He met Irglová for real on a trip to Prague and they made an album called The Swell Season. I hadn't heard their music before, but the high note he likes to hit reminds me a little of Radiohead. The music is very simply produced and I liked it. You can go to this website to decide for yourself.
I had a lot of reasons to like this film outside of the fact that it's a nice time at the movies. Ms. Irglová kind of looks and sounds a little like one of the best math students I ever had, a young woman from Romania named Theodora Dordea. My band, The Wonders of Science, spent some time in a recording studio, and the scenes of the recording reminded me of those old days, most especially the scene about whether the recording session should be finished at 4 a.m. and the idea that we should listen to the tape in the car on crappy speakers.
Matty Boy says check it out. Nice little movie. A great antidote to the multimillion dollar roller coaster rides now playing at the local googleplex.