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The Swell Season

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Every Academy Awards ceremony has that underdog winner who gives an exuberant acceptance speech about following one's dreams. At the 2007 Oscars that was Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, the stars of Irish indie romance Once who picked up the award for Best Original Song. The winning song "Falling Slowly" encapsulates the budding romance between the two characters — a busker and a fey Czech immigrant with a beautiful voice — and that fictional romance also imitated itself in real life between Hansard and Irglova. The Swell Season (also the name of their band) follows the band/couple on the two-year tour following their Oscar win as they deal with fame and the high expectations set by family, fans and each other that come with it. The gorgeous black-and-white documentary captures a lot of charming, intimate moments on the road, and woven in are interviews with family and others, plus clips from live shows. Tensions begin to arise over their differing views on how to interact with zealous fans, who come to the band's sold-out shows expecting pictures and autographs. It's apparent they have not only fallen in love with Hansard and Irglova's music, but with their romance narrative. But like in many cases of life imitating art, the real-life version isn't as pretty. The couple fights with increasing frequency, and the camera remains unflinching through all the tense moments. Just like in Once, the characters shared a fleeting romance. It wasn't made to last, but at least they made some beautiful music together. Tickets $7 general admission, $6 students/seniors, $5 Zeitgeist members. — Lauren LaBorde

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