The Swell Season (2011)
|Year Of Production||2011|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||Dutch for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Swell Season is a black and white documentary film following the band of the same name as they tour, hang out, drink and argue. The band The Swell Season was formed around the combination of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. If you don't recognize any of those names then chances are you weren't swept up in the minor phenomenon of the film Once.
For the uninitiated, the film was the story of a down on his luck Irish singer/guitarist who gets inspiration to record an album when he meets Czech pianist and singer Irglova. The bittersweet tale, peppered with great songs, was a genuine and heartfelt love story. The emotional effect of the story was aided when it was revealed that Hansard and Irglova had become a couple, life imitating art. Months onwards and the song Falling Slowly from the film won the Best Song Oscar and suddenly the pair are on stage before the world daring us to live our dreams.
This pressure to perform not only as a band but also as a pair of star-crossed lovers is a recurrent theme in this fly-on-the-wall film. Hansard enjoyed the enormous success and adulation he dreamed of and yet Irglova is unhappy with the attention. Not for her the photo ops and intense public scrutiny. She just wants the life of a performer.
This is really a film for the fans. Having enjoyed the film Once though not being a massive fan of The Swell Season I found the film engaging and at times revealing as to the life "on the road". The music is heartfelt and emotional, often pointing at ideas which come to prominence in their relationship. The interludes with friends and family, some painful, make it that much more real. A scene in a cafe towards the end takes the film on an inexorable, darker path.
The Swell Season was shot on digital video. According to the director 35mm lenses were adapted onto the video camera to give it a filmic look. It is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio which is consistent with the original presentation.
The film is presented in black and white. An artistic choice which immediately (perhaps unfortunately) brings to mind U2's Rattle and Hum. However, in this case taking away the colour intensifies the drama, in particular the scenes of relationship turmoil.
The film looks fine. There is a digital sharpness to it all. No noise or other defects are present.
There are subtitles in English. There are also some subtitles burned into the print for scenes where the dialogue is difficult to understand.
The Swell Season has a Dolby Digital 5.1 track running at 448 Kb/s.
This is fine for the film which combines segments of concert performance with backstage and exterior dialogue. The dialogue is mostly clear bearing in mind the wealth of accents on offer and the "overheard" nature of the film. The concerts sound immediate and crisp.
There is nothing for the surrounds or sub-woofer to do except provide support for the music, giving it greater depth.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 version of the film carries 45 minutes of Deleted Scenes as well as the trailer. A better buy for die-hards.
The Swell Season will tell fans what their favourite "couple" was up to in the years 2006 to 2009. Anyone wanting to see the Once story all over again can go to Broadway where the musical runs nightly. Anyone wanting to know what a life of the touring musician does to relationship need look no further than this.
|DVD||Cambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC-LX 81 7.1|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|