Writer-director John Carney’s 2007 film Once follows two aspiring musicians in Dublin who bond over their creative passion but are destined to not end up together. It is a tender, bittersweet film that strings together a handful of wonderful musical set pieces.
That’s a bit surprising, because the movie should be right up my alley. It has the low-budget, real-life romantic vibe of Richard Linklater’s Before series and it features a number of beautifully staged musical moments (Marketa Irglova’s late-night battery run, for example).
Inspired by last week’s Tift Merritt Song of the Day, which featured her playing a live set at a record shop, I’ve decided to dedicate an extended theme week to such live performances.
Today through Sunday, each of my selections will be a live performance in front of a small record store audience. The great thing about the next batch of songs is that each of these artists is unpopular enough to warrant such a small venue but each has a rabid enough fan base that you can be sure every single person in these shops knows what a special experience they’re having.
Marketa Irglova is listening to a recording in this clip from Once, but it’s a recording of her own music and she does sing along to the tape, so I think it counts.
I had plenty of Once scenes to choose from — the whole movie is made up of scenes that fit my criteria for this week’s theme — but I really had no other choice. For me, this is far and away the best scene in the movie.