Screened as part of NZIFF 2007

Once 2006

Directed by John Carney

A sincere, romantic indie musical set in Dublin, the music capital of the world. Two street musicians, a boy and a girl, strike up an intimate friendship that leads to tentative collaboration.

Ireland In English
85 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Tim Fleming


Paul Mullen


Glen Hansard
Markéta Irglová


Glen Hansard
Markéta Irglová


Guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face, a tear in your eye and a song in your heart, this year’s candidate for most charming film is a romance set in Dublin, the music capital of the world. “Scoring his delicate love story to the tunes of its central singer-songwriter couple, Carney doesn’t reinvent the musical genre so much as ground it in grimy, believable indie-ness, with his film’s songs realistically nestled into his Dublin-set tale of a thirty-something street performer and vacuum cleaner repairman known only as Guy (Glen Hansard) and a Czech Republic immigrant, single mother and rose-seller known only as Girl (Markéta Irglová). Meeting after one of his late-night performances, the two strike up an intimate friendship rooted in their shared on-the-fringe situations and musicianship dreams, the latter leading to tentative collaboration. Handheld verité direction results in subtly well-staged scenes and images that visually reflect his protagonists’ ever-shifting relations to each other. Once’s musical numbers have a similar understated grace – naturally emanating from plot circumstances, and reflecting the current emotions of both characters – and benefit from real-world singer-songwriters Hansard [The Frames] and Irglová’s catchy, heartfelt songs, which exude a touching blend of miserable heartache and cautious optimism.” — Nick Schager, Slant Magazine.

“Lensing on Dublin location captures the spirit of a town that is booming around characters who don’t quite fit in. But their indomitable spirit comes through loud and clear in this lovely film… a wonderful and winning Irish musical.” — James Greenberg, Hollywood Reporter