Star Rating:

The Swell Season

Directors: Carlo Mirabella-Davis., Chris Dapkins, Nick August-Perna

Actors: Markafacta Irglovafa

Release Date: Monday 30th November -0001

Genre(s): Documentary

Running time: 91 minutes

It was only April when the peculiar The Frames: In The Deep Shade documentary sneaked into cinemas but those curious about Hansard and co. were left in the dark in that strangely light on details but oddly enticing marriage of visuals and music. Here is what the disgruntled were after: an intimate portrayal of the Frames frontman as he goes semi-solo with Markéta Irglová in the wake of their Once Oscar for Best Original Song.

If John Carney's sweet drama was a fictionalised version of their burgeoning romance, The Swell Season is the opposite, depicting the breakdown of Hansard and Irglová's relationship on their post-Oscar tours from 2007 to 2010. There's no real moment to point to the beginning of the dissolution of the relationship - it's just by increments. As one tour of American progresses west, Irglová becomes increasingly tired of the "rock star bullshit" of posing for photographs with fans; one fan even has a line from her Oscar-winning speech tattooed on his arm and while she seems slightly wary of this, Hansard just laughs it off. A back stage scene sees Hansard slagging his co-writer who is doing her best to laugh along but the camera notes her hurt. Later Hansard, obviously revelling in the mingling of the post gig parties, begs a reluctant Irglová to "Just try to enjoy yourself" as they go their separate ways.

But there are moments of humour too when the pair inspect the American photo-shopped version of the Once poster with Hansard noticeably beautified and Irglová untouched: "They had to make me good looking!" And Hansard's mother, interviewed in her kitchen in Ireland, is as straight to the bone as you'd expect and Irish mammy to be, loving her son, the Oscar winner, while that son struggles with the post-Oscar fallout of 'what does it all mean?' Along the way we get the backstory to some songs and how Falling Slowly came about.

So how much did the Oscar change him? In cutting from a clean-shaven Hansard giving his winning speech to the Academy in 2007 to a scruffy, bearded and pipe-smoking Hansard you find your answer.