So rarely these days when at the cinema do I find myself transported directly into the screen, unaware of my theatrical surroundings. This is a feeling that home video can rarely, if ever, duplicate and I'm forever thankful of the theatrical experience, so we can see films like Once every now and then.Watching Once, I disappeared into the moment. This is a beautiful film about love that transpires through music and the musicians that communicate their feelings through it. A man (Glen Hansard) is singing some soulful music on the sreet when he meets a woman (Marketa Irglova). They talk and connect. She finds out he fixes vaccum cleaners on his day-to-day, she's married (but only 18 years old) and they both share a passion for music.
In quite possibly the most beautiful moment I have witnessed in a motion picture this year, we watch our two lead characters as they get to know each other in a music shop. One of the many right notes is how director John Carney gets both participants to sing the song "Falling Slowly". In a lesser movie, these two would just start singing in perfect harmony, but the man teaching her the song slowly brings her in, teaches her the notes and then try out the song.
The shots last forever, the framing is loose but simultaneously concentrated and the lyrics speak so deeply about the connection that is about to happen. I felt a small tear dash down my cheek as the two of them ever-so-lightly looked at one another, although Carney didn't linger on those moments. These are the kind of scenes you show people when asked why you love film so much.These two are connected at this point in each of their lives where they are about to take a next step. For the man, he has deep musical talent and needs to go to London. For the woman, she has a past that she decides to live up to. What's great about the film is that it deals with these problems honestly and the film's finale is unexpected and deeply moving. "Once" is a rare and deeply moving experience that you'll want to see at least a few times over.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2007 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2007 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 San Francisco Film Festival For more in the 2007 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.