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Monday, 05 September 2011 00:00

'The Swell Season' doesn't feel so swell

'The Swell Season' doesn't feel so swell facebook.com/pages/The-Swell-Season-Movie/179335752108328
Written by Diane Carson
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About this Media...

  • Director: Chris Dapkins, Nick August-Perna, & Carlo Mirabella-Davis
  • Dates: September 9-11, 2011

The Swell Season meanders through the slow unraveling of the fragile relationship it follows over two years. That the couple under scrutiny is Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglova gains the documentary some affection since Glen and Mar achieved a measure of fame after starring in the 2006 independent film Once. In it, they became a couple on and off screen.

But writers/producers/directors Chris Dapkins, Nick August-Perna, and Carlo Mirabella-Davis spend too much time lingering on reaction shots, long pauses in conversations, and unexceptional moments. Still there are some gems in this low-key presentation, especially Glen interacting with his mother and then expressing second thoughts about his comments later. Similarly, concern about his alcoholic father further reveals Glen's deep sensitivity and struggles, a point of contention with Markéta who wants him to just relax.

Mar also emerges as a thoughtful person, though in strained contrast to Glen. She feels uncomfortable with the autograph/photo seekers while Glen's more extroverted personality accommodates such trappings of fame. Given his background and years of commitment to music with relative anonymity, briefly described early in the film, Glen's success is certainly more hard won, and so it matters that he questions it so seriously.

The title The Swell Season comes from the world musical tour Glen and Markéta put together after winning their 2008 Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures for the Original Song "Falling Slowly," among many other film music awards they received. The Academy Award is the one that matters enormously to Glen's mother, who obsesses over it. It's revealing of so much to see how individuals, their friends and relatives handle such success, it just does so quite unhurriedly. This will give viewers time to reflect but risks the boredom I felt at several junctures.

Shot in appealing black-and-white cinematography, The Swell Season is a St. Louis premiere showing at Webster University's Winifred Moore auditorium at 7:30 p.m. from Friday, September 9th through Sunday, September 11th. For more information and the current schedule, you may call 314-968-7487 or go to the web at: www.Webster.edu/filmseries.

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