Sunday, 30 December 2007


The movie Once played here last week and I was really looking forward to seeing it because I’ve been a fan of the musicians who play the lead characters for ages.

Six or seven years ago a band from Ireland called The Frames played at the annual music festival in Valašské Meziříčí. Mňága a Žďorp were the headline group but The Frames played right before them and were a pretty tough act to follow. Much as I like Mňága, The Frames and their lead singer Glen Hansard were the highlight of that night and to hear Fitzcarraldo or Revelate instantly transports me back there.

One of the songs they did was called Star, Star. To supply the angelic voices for the chorus two young sisters were called up from the crowd and I think that’s the first time Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard ever performed together in public.

I’ve seen them three or four times since then, but my favourite moment I think was towards the end of a concert at the Theatre of Music in Olomouc a couple of years ago. As an encore to a show promoting the Swell Season album, Markéta came and sat down at the edge of the stage and performed Jeff Buckley’s version of John Cale’s version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ acoustically. Almost the entire crowd spontaneously joined in with the chorus (some of us who’ve heard the limits of our singing voices stayed quiet for the greater good ;-) and it was really one of the nicest moments you could hope to experience at a live concert.

But what about the film? Well, it’s set in Ireland and is the story a of chance meeting between a street musician/vacuum cleaner repairman and a young Czech lady, living and working in Dublin. Another romantic and predictable Cinderella story? It’s certainly romantic and the ending is simple and lovely but I didn’t find it predictable at all. And even if you were to pay no attention to the plot, the film would be worth seeing for the music alone. If you’ve not heard the Frames or seen one of Glen and Markéta’s concerts, you might recognise their music from the film ‘Beauty in Trouble’ (Kráska v nesnázích-Jan Hřebejk, 2006).

Overall it’s a brilliant little Indie film with a good story, great music and it has captured the mood of a particular slice of time in Ireland in a way that would make documentary makers blush with envy. Go and see it if you get the chance!


Mark said...

I remember that gig where they sung Hallelujah- we couldn't get tickets but the usher snuck us into the back fro the encore.

I haven't seen the film yet, but I bought the soundtrack as soon as I saw it. Very nice indeed!

Captain Oddsocks said...

That's right! All the tickets were sold out days in adavnce, but was it you and Rinkie and Petie who got to sneak in and see a few songs towards the end?
Wonder what Petie's doing these days?

Mark said...

Yup, was the three of us.

No idea about petie - haven't spoken to him since he left Poets' :-(