The Swell Season Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins & Carlo Mirabella-Davis

The Swell Season Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins & Carlo Mirabella-Davis
It may sound like damning with faint praise, but Once may just be the best movie musical of the last decade. It has a disarming naturalism, hopelessly charming performances and, most importantly, a great score courtesy of the two stars: real-life musicians and partners Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. The Swell Season is an impressionistic documentary record of the aftermath of the film's phenomenal, Oscar-winning success and, more particularly, of the impact on Hansard and Irglova, and their romance. In richly textured black and white, it documents their lives together during their world tour, their interactions with their families, gushing fans and so on. As achingly personal as it often is, with disarmingly frank depictions of the strains affecting their relationship, one could be forgiven for still finding the film a bit thin. The fractured time scheme mitigates the narrative building, as it should ― this is one case where boring old linearity may have benefited the film. When it reaches its bittersweet climax, you feel a bit cheated out of a proper love story, as the fragments of time on the road and backstory you've been watching haven't cohered in a satisfactory way. The lack of extras reinforces the feeling that the doc would serve as a terrific bonus addition to the Once DVD. Still, there's much to enjoy in The Swell Season, especially if you're a fan of the artists and/or the musical. Certainly some great music, though this leads to the biggest complaint about the doc: no songs are here are heard in their entirety. Some extra performance footage would have been nice. (Mongrel Media)