Sundance Highlight: Once

I got a chance to attend the Sundance Film Festival last week where along with all other excitement there happened to be a lot of great music in the films I saw. Perhaps my favorite was the Irish entry Once which deservedly won the Audience Award for World Cinema: Dramatic. Once is described as a musical and a love story, but these labels are a bit deceiving as it’s pretty atypical of both. Glen Hansard of the band The Frames stars as a busker and Marketa Irglova as a Czech immmigrant pianist. The two connect and collaborate over the course of a week, though it feels longer. The combination of the story and music was quite affecting; it simply looked, sounded, and felt amazing.

Glen & Marketa wrote the music for the film as well, some of which was written before the story and writer/directory John Carney would build the story around it, and some of which was written in response to what John was writing. (John also happens to have been the original bassist for The Frames.) The whole process seems to have been an organic and inspired thing. Glen wasn’t even supossed to act in the film originally, but I can’t even imagine if he hadn’t.

Glen and Marketa were on hand for the Q&A after the screening and were gracious about sharing their music with us, playing some of it live in the theater and sharing a few extra copies of their recordings.


They put out The Swell Season last year (available on iTunes) which has some of the music from the film, and we can look forward to the real soundtrack in the future. One of my favorites was “When Your Mind’s Made Up” which showcases the songwriting talent and chemistry between Glen & Marketa that are central to making this film what it is.

mp3: Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova – When Your Mind’s Made Up

Once has distribution in Ireland and should now find distrubution in the U.S. since winning the audience award, so watch for it. You’ll be stunned, especially knowing that it was made for a mere $100,000. View the trailer at oncethemovie.com

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One response to “Sundance Highlight: Once

  1. The Swell Season is such a gorgeous album – I didn’t even know there was a film! Thanks for enlightening me.

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