Eugene Cho

“once” – a beautiful movie

Wow.  Tonight, Minhee and I rented and watched the film, “Once” and I have to say while it may not be the greatest of films, it was such a delightful and hopeful film.  What’s amazing was that this film was made for only $160,000. [ For comparison, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was created for $300 million; Troy was created for $180 million].

“Once” – featuring beautiful music – captured our attention, lifted our spirits, and honestly, it made me recommit myself to my guitar and songwriting.  My guitar [11+ years ago before marriage] – used to be my best friend.  I sold it years ago and certainly regretted that decision tonight but with the wife’s permission, I’m ready to be friends again with a guitar.

Seriously, go rent and enjoy this film.  If you’ve seen it already, what did you think?  Question:  What’s been a recent film that has lifted your spirits/hope?

Here’s a brief synopsis of the film [from wikipedia]:

Once is an Academy Award winning 2007 Irish musical film written and directed by John Carney [ex -bassist of The Frames]. Set in Dublin, this naturalistic drama stars musicians Glen Hansard (of popular Irish rock band The Frames) and Markéta Irglováas struggling musicians. Collaborators prior to making the film, Hansard and/or Irglová composed and performed all but one of the original songs in the movie.

Shot for only €130,000 ($160,000), the film was very successful, earning substantial per-screen box office averages in the United States.  It received extremely enthusiastic reviews and awards such as the 2008 Independent Spirit Award for best foreign film. Hansard and Irglová’s song “Falling Slowly” received a 2008 Academy Award and a 2008 Grammy nomination, and the soundtrack as a whole also received a Grammy nomination.

Marketa Irglova’s speech at the 2008 Academy Awards for winning the Best Original Song:

“Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we’re standing here tonight, the fact that we’re able to hold this, it’s just the proof that no matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don’t give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, who helped us along way. Thank you.”

406px-onceposter.jpg

Filed under: entertainment, , , , ,

15 Responses

  1. Dan Hauge says:

    Without giving away much (I hope), I really appreciated the way that the film ended–how it bucked the standard Hollywood expectations of how those situations should play out.

    On a completely different note–130,000 pounds is now equivalent to $160,000? Wow, the dollar really is tanking.

    Oh, and to answer the question–I’m not sure how this confession will label me, but I LOVED Enchanted. I’m a sucker for Disney movie musicals, and while I knew this was going to be a funny tweak on their formula, I didn’t know how much it’s a sly tribute to just about every Disney animated film, ever. Picking out all the different references is a blast.

  2. Jessie says:

    I was just going to say Enchanted too! When I came out of the theater my face hurt from grinning the whole time…It was short, sweet and hilarious especially for girls like me who have known those enormous-eyed Disney princesses since childhood. Amy Adams was perfect.

  3. DK says:

    You know what’s weird is that I can’t think if anything that I’ve seen recently that have been uplifting. They’ve all been pretty dark, intense, etc.

  4. Janet says:

    Well, my suggestion is pretty obvious: JUNO.

    It was so uplifting and hopeful. I’ve seen it nearly ten times and each time, I walk way feeling hopeful. And I LOVE that song.

  5. rexhamilton says:

    I agree…Juno is one of those films that makes you leave the theater with a grin. It was a refreshing experience after seeing No Country for Old Men a couple times and then There Will be Blood. Two very good films, but very intense.

  6. Thanks for the recommendation. “Once” is now in our Blockbuster queue.

    As for other uplifting movies, I’d put in another vote for Juno. Also, I recently saw the Darjeeling Limited and, having been to India myself, found it really funny and (subtly) uplifting. (If you see it, note how the characters’ baggage is used as a great visual metaphor.) Every time I see The Motorcycle Diaries I feel both uplifted and challenged, and I loved Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind. And finally, one of my favorite documentaries is Born Into Brothels. It is really inspiring.

    Thanks for a great post and a great blog. I’ve listed your site as a link on my blog.

  7. Definately going to watch this one brother! Thanks for the recommendation. I rewatched an old favorite and blogged it…. come to my page and read about!
    http://chencenter.wordpress.com/2008/03/27/zatoichi-is-there-a-film-that-compares/

  8. teeveebee says:

    My husband and I went to see the film “Once” some time ago when it first came out. We had to travel for an hour to a small independent movie theater where it was playing. We loved it. The music continued to haunt me for days afterwards. It’s a beautiful film, well worth renting.

    I would recommend this film with one caveat, there is some language in the movie that might not be appropriate for younger viewers to hear, and in my opinion, totally unnecessary to the story being told.

  9. Aaron L says:

    Oh yea, my wife and I absolutely loved Once. I’ve been rockin the soundtrack ever since.

    Another great one that both breaks and warms me is Reign Over Me with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. So good.

  10. Ron says:

    from thefilmconnection.org

    Promises follows the journey of one of the filmmakers travels to a Palestinian refugee camp and to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and to the more familiar neighborhoods of Jerusalem where he meets seven Palestinian and Israeli children.

    Though the children live only 20 minutes apart, they exist in completely separate worlds; the physical, historical and emotional obstacles between them run deep.

    Promises explores the nature of these boundaries and tells the story of a few children who dared to cross the lines to meet their neighbors. Rather than focusing on political events, the seven children featured in Promises offers a refreshing, human and sometimes humorous portrait of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

  11. Joonmo says:

    Awesome movie indeed. I liked the movie so much, I bought the soundtrack for my itunes right after. I heard Glen Hansard was only suppose to provide the music for the film but he ended up taking the part because the main actor backed out. I can’t imagine anyone better to play that part. I hear they are a couple in real life.

  12. Darwin says:

    I saw it a few months back, but The Namesake (based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s book) was a great movie – especially meaningful to those of us from immigrant backgrounds. I’d say that as haunting a particular scene was, The Kite Runner was also an inspiriing movie to me – and very true to the book, which is often too rare.

  13. beattieblog says:

    Eugene – you missed an amazing show at The Moore lastnight…
    http://beattieblog.wordpress.com/

  14. Mark says:

    Why do you need your wife’s permission to play the guitar?

  15. sijojamesjohn says:

    Gr8 Film..I was happy to see the Marketa getting a chance to come back on stage and give her speech after she was pipped the first time

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In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

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We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

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It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

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even as we seek 
to change the world. 
To be about the latter 
without the former 
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