Final Dinner/Movie of 2016: ONCE (2007) *****
Thursday, November 10, 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: CIR conference room, 413 Grant Ave. Suite D
Cost: $40 includes Irish buffet and film
To celebrate our final dinner/movie event of 2016, esteemed CIR member, Breege O’Reilly, a native of Ireland, has offered to prepare an authentic Irish feast, featuring Steak and Guinness Pie, Shepard’s Pie/Irish Stew (meat and vegetarian), Colcannnon Potatoes, Irish Soda Bread, Sherri Trifle, Scotch Eggs and other delights.
While we dine, Breege and Seamus Malin (also an Irish native) will share a few tales of Ireland, to be followed by our selected Irish film for the evening: ONCE.
The deadline to reserve for this event is passed. Please call the CIR office if you would still like to attend: 505-982-4931, ext. 102.
Cast: Glen Hansard as The Guy and Marketa Irglova as The Girl. Written and directed by John Carney.
Drama, Foreign, Music, Romance Rated R 85 minutes
Rated one of the 10 best Irish movies of all time by Irish Central.
I’m not at all surprised that my colleague, Michael Phillips, of the Tribune selected John Carney’s “Once” as the best film of 2007. I gave it my Special Jury Prize, which is sort of an equal first. “Once” was shot for next to nothing in 17 days, doesn’t even give names to its characters, is mostly music with not a lot of dialog, and is magical from beginning to end. It’s one of those films where you hold your breath, hoping it knows how good it is, and doesn’t take a wrong turn. It doesn’t. Even the ending is the right ending, the more you think about it.
The film is set in Dublin, where we see a street musician singing for donations. This is the Guy. He attracts an audience of the Girl, who loves his music. She’s a pianist herself. He wants to hear her play. She doesn’t have a piano. She takes him to a music store where she knows the owner, and they use a display piano. She plays some Mendelssohn. We are in love with this movie. He is falling in love with her. He just sits there and listens. She is falling in love with him. She just sits there and plays. There is an unusual delay before we get the obligatory reaction shot of the store owner, because all the movie wants to do is sit there and listen, too.
This is working partly because of the deeply good natures we sense these two people have. They aren’t “picking each other up.” They aren’t flirting — or, well, technically they are, but in that way that means, “I’m not interested unless you’re too good to be true.” They love music, and they’re not faking it. We sense to a rare degree the real feelings of the two of them; there’s no overlay of technique, effect or style.
“Once” is the kind of film I’ve been pestered about ever since I started reviewing again. People couldn’t quite describe it, but they said I had to see it. I had to. Well, I did. They were right.
— Roger Ebert 2007
Now the title, Mr. Carney says, refers to fellow Irishmen and women he would encounter in bars: “They say, ‘Once I do this, then it’ll be great.’ But they never do it. It’s a great Irish tradition of vacillating.” Mr. Carney hopes that the ambiguous relationship at the core of the film will also resonate with viewers. “It’s the ones who are gone who haunt you for the rest of your life,” he said. “Instead of saying, ‘I love you’ or ‘I miss you,’ they just disappear.”