Directed by: Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins & Carlo Mirabella-Davis
New England Premiere
The world fell in love with Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová when their songwriting collaboration in the film ONCE culminated in a jubilant Oscar win. But behind the scenes, where Glen and Markéta’s on-screen romance became reality, a grueling two-year world tour threatened to fracture their fated bond. This music-filled documentary is an intimate look at the exhilaration and turmoil created by both love and fame.
THE SWELL SEASON patiently observes the small gestures, the stolen moments of quiet backstage intimacy, the raw post show folk ballads sung in dark, smoky dressing rooms. Glen and Markéta wake up in strange towns, wander through cities posing for snapshots. We watch as they navigate this strange new realm of public exposure with only each other to depend on.
“Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he ever wanted…” One fan warns Glen, but the punch line remains unspoken.
On a break from tour, Glen visits his parents outside Dublin. His mother tells him that his Oscar win means everything in their neighborhood while his charismatic, alcoholic father embodies a heavy psychological burden that Glen feels compelled to shoulder.
Back on tour in Czech, these simmering tensions mount and unhinge in an unforgettable conversation between the two lovers at an outdoor cafe. As the beautiful backdrop of Telc fades, the audience witnesses the raw unraveling of a romance and the reconfiguring of a beautiful musical collaboration.
The film follows Glen and Markéta through a period of extraordinary intensity and pressure, which drives both musicians to question their ambitions, identities, and ultimately, their relationship. It’s a story of lovers, the burden of dreams, dark family legacies, and in the end, the eternal bond between two searching souls forever linked by their music.