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April 27, 2011  | by: Brandon Kirby

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

Acting as a spiritual successor to Once, the documentary following the performing duo of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, The Swell Season, premieres at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

2006′s independent and critically acclaimed low-key musical Once launched two relatively unknown artists into the spotlight: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. The film even brought them Oscar fame as their song “Falling Slowly” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year. Yes, that was the year Marketa Irglova got played off by the orchestra before she even had a chance to speak. Thankfully she was  brought back on stage after a commercial break to finish.

Once portrayed Hansard and Irglova in a relationship, one that blossomed into a romance in real life. The new documentary picks up exactly where the fictional Once left off, but this film, The Swell Season, is true non-fiction following the couple’s tour with three years worth of footage. The film is named after the group Hansard and Irglova formed during the time of Once‘s release. The song that won them on Oscar (“Falling Slowly”) is not only featured on the Once soundtrack, but their first self-titled studio album as well. Last year the couple released a second album titled Strict Joy.

The fictional characters created in their film Once more or less came true, and so a new documentary capturing this is only fitting. Peter Knegt at IndieWire praises the Tribeca-premiered documentary stating, “The result is a charming and polished new entry into the music documentary corpus, and one sure to find considerable play at festivals.”

He also notes the film’s focus on the duality of the performers’ off-screen and public personas. And perhaps not serving as the initial point to the documentary, Knegt says it works as watching the downfall of Hansard and Irglova’s relationship. “Through some remarkable scenes of vulnerability, Swell Season admirably archives the demise of their romance – even if the filmmakers never intended that to be the case,” he says.

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