Tribeca 2011: ‘The Swell Season’ an entertaining music documentary for fans and non-fans alike


The Swell Season

Directed by Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins & Carlo Mirabella-Davis

2011, USA

The Swell Season provides the next chapter of a hopefully long and amazing journey of folk rock musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, 2007 Academy Award winners for best original song, Falling Slowly, from the film Once. These struggling artists’ lives embrace the vision of following one’s musical and cinematic dream where ever that may lead.

The initial tones of quiet and at times riveting concert footage, oozes of Lennon and Ono-type muse relationship. Glen and Marketa’s chemistry is not without doubts, pitfalls, and new peaks to conquer.  Directors August-Perna and Dapkins stay distant enough from their dynamic to allow these now rising artists to show audiences who they are.  In an era of ever-diminishing privacy, especially for celebrities, this film brilliantly broaches the subject of an artist’s inner creative self, and to what extent fans crave artists who turn their creative souls inside out.

Glen bravely reveals the dark places that every artist has experienced, “thin ice over a dark place,” while balancing his joy over international recognition, the likes of which he fears he may never see again. Marketa’s youth, optimism and talent, just as in their harmonies, balances his trepidations of their future.

The story also epitomizes that with great talent comes great responsibility, and with great recognition comes baggage, fame and angst. But as we see Marketa’s dilemma with backstage groupies, we understand her young yet worldly protection of her privacy, revealing a talented artist, wise beyond years wrestling with the realities of fame.

The film captures the beauty of both artists who comfortable in their own skin. Concert performances provide great entertainment, and their fans will adore this sensitive portrayal, including footage of Hansard’s home life and family interaction. The beauty and authenticity of this film makes for an entertaining music documentary for fans and non-fans alike.

– L. C. Cragg

Visit the official website for the film festival.

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