Duet song “Falling Slowly”, from the Irish independent film “Once”, has won an Academy Award for the Best Original Song.
The film is a modern musical love story about a lonely Irish busker who falls in love with a Czech flower seller in Dublin's Grafton Street.
The duo are played by real life musicians Markéta Irglová, a Czech pianist, and Glen Hansard, who is the leader of Ireland's acclaimed band The Frames.
Set in Dublin and surroundings, “Once” was shot on two mini-DV handycams and costed less than €100,000. The film was directed by former Frames' bassist John Carney.
From those humble beginnings, the film became an unexpected hit at the independent Sundance Film Festival last 2007 and captivated audiences and critics alike until it was finally awarded an Oscar for Best Original Song last February 24th, 2008.
Main film character and musician Glen Hansard said "Our marketing plan for Once was to take one copy around cinemas in Ireland. We never even thought it was going to get released, we just thought we might sell some DVDs after gigs."
The character of the busker in the film is based on Hansard himself, who played in the streets of his native Dublin since he was 14 years old.
In 1990 Hansard got together with other street musicians and founded The Frames, one of Ireland's most popular independent bands, which have released six albums to date.
He is also known for his starring role in Alan Parker's 1991 film “The Commitments”, one of Ireland's most successful movies, where he played foul-mouthed guitarist Outspan.
The dubliner could hardly hide his amazement when he was awarded the Oscar:
"We made this film two years ago; we shot it on two Handycams. It took us three weeks to make; we made it for a hundred grand. We never thought we'd ever come into a room like this and be in front of you people.”
Fiction has also become reality for Hansard and Irglová as the duo have started a real-life relationship after playing a romance in the film.
The ballad “Falling Slowly” has reached the Top#1 in the Irish charts.
An Irish busker (Glen Hansard) meets a Czech flower seller (Markéta Irglová) while singing on the streets of Dublin. She likes what she hears and lets him know. Turns out she's a musician, too. They work on a few songs together and a friendship is forged. She lives with her widowed mother, who doesn't speak English. He lives with his widowed father, who owns a repair shop. Since he broke up with his girlfriend, the guy has been drifting, unable and unwilling to get his life in order. The girl encourages him to pursue a record deal, and the guy emerges from his funk. Then he makes a move on the girl, who rejects his advances. He's confused, but as he comes to find, there's a reason she’s keeping her distance. Filmmaker John Carney, Hansard's former bandmate, captures the real city--in all its affluence and poverty--rather than the picture postcard version. His beautifully shot film serves as a heartfelt ballad about all the underclass Guys and Girls swept aside amidst Ireland's economic miracle..
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