In my day job I’m afforded a rare insight into other peoples lives, something that can be a privilege if not a little overwhelming on occasion. There is an emotional soup at work in every suburb, every heart of a city, as well as country lane, and it is a rare opportunity to feel submerged in the soul of each story that passes your way. I am afforded glimpses, and that’s all (and sometimes that is all I could wish for – humanity is in equal measures heroic and tragic and it can be all too much to experience each life that comes your way).
The closest I have come to full immersion was during mine and Sarah’s travels across
That and I guess the personal nature of the journey. While I don't mind talking about my travels, they are too close to be given on a whim. Thank you. The moments that stand out are of pain, but also ones that reaffirmed life too, discovery of the soul perhaps.
Returning to banality from all that burrows a hole in the soul which the Every Day just leaves so empty. On occasion I’ve felt the same way I did when I was travelling, mainly from people-watching in cafés that have bare floor-boards and pictures of windmills on the walls. Or during my day job when I meet someone whose eyes sparkle with magic and experience.
But sometimes movies can remind me of it too.
The last movie to do that was Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, a film for the romantic and the traveller who is just as interested, or more so, with those they meet than the place itself.
Last night I saw another film that made me feel this way again. It wasn't about travelling as such, unless you count the distance between dreams and success, but it was about people. The film was “Once”, directed by John Carney, a movie with a story, direction and acting talents that were achingly natural that you felt an intimacy with every scene. Essentially a paean to love lost or being estranged but then regained, what makes Once an essential movie for anyone who loves film, is the music - perhaps one of the most brilliant soundtracks I’ve heard in a very long time. It won a deserved Oscar for the main song (written by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) and each track proves both Hansard and Irglova are a perfect duo purely on audio.
But on film they are something greater. It is rare to see musicians throw so much into a performance without it bordering on the cringe-worthy. Here, both Hansard and Irglova are so convincing, so natural, that their performances are beyond simple goose-bumps or the hairs rising on the nape – they cause a somersault of the soul that is so overwhelming you will feel the urge to cry but with no idea why; the songs are bittersweet, yes, but life affirming. As is the entire film – it gets through the saccharin absurdities that would afflict a
As for me, I’ve never bought a soundtrack so quickly after watching a movie before (I was ordering it the moment the credits rolled). That might seem like high praise depending on your point of view, but Once more than deserves it. It certainly will be at the top of my play-list for the coming months.
Perhaps years even…