Nearly four years ago, I was writing about the film 'Once' starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova; the paragraph concluded maybe one day it will be screened here. Well, Yes3 (the obscure/French/arty film channel) broadcast 'Once' the other day - in the early afternoon when most people would have missed it. I only caught it by chance by perusing the listings for the upcoming week.
This time around, I had the benefits of a good picture and subtitles, so finally I could understand all of what the characters were saying (although I note that sometimes Hansard's thick Dublin accent defeated the translators and they also didn't translate the few words of Czech). Watching the film on tv cleared up a few misunderstandings - for example, I had thought that 'the guy' knew the musicians who help him record; it seems as if he comes upon them on the street as strangers. I was also impressed by the strength of character displayed by 'the girl' - she persuades the bank manager to authorise a loan and negotiates a deep discount with the studio manager.
Somewhat surprisingly, IMDB displays an 8.0 rating for the film. Whilst I enjoyed watching it, I didn't think that it was that good. It's very natural, so there aren't any one liners to be picked up. The relationship between the guy and girl is platonic (although he at one stage wanted more until being turned down neatly) so there are no romantic scenes. This naturalism is what causes people to think that it was a true story - exacerbated by the fact that the actors did become a couple for a short while after the film. Let us not forget that the film ends with the girl reunited with her husband and the guy flying to London to hunt down his ex-girlfriend. So the guy did not get the girl.
I was a bit disappointed by the music: two songs ("Falling slowly" and "When your mind's made up") are repeated, as opposed to using other songs.