On October 31, my partner Teresa told us with resignation that ‘Eleven’, released that day, could be one of the surprises of the season, but it would not be possible to verify it due to the limited distribution of the film. Here in Granada we are lucky in that sense, although few of us take advantage of it, and it is very rare that a premiere is not screened in one of the four cinemas (there were six recently) in the city. Even the revival of the mythical ‘Blade Runner’ has fallen.
In response to your thought, I don’t think ‘Eleven’ going to surprise anyone. It is very little, it is almost a cheap and extended video clip with the purpose that we listen to songs about love and heartbreak. If you know you’re going to this, and you’re hooked by the songs, you’ll enjoy the session; if you expect a musical or to be told a complex story or you are not convinced by the songs, you will have a very boring time in the cinema. If this happens to you, you better be one of those who leave the room so that, once the money is spent, you don’t waste any more time. My case? First.
‘Once’, songs of love and heartbreak
the synopsis of ‘Eleven’ (2006) is as follows: an anonymous singer-songwriter performs his songs on the streets of Dublin, when he is not working in his father’s shop (he repairs vacuum cleaners). During the day, he plays songs known to passers-by, at night he plays his own songs. His talent does not go unnoticed by a girl, a Czech immigrant, who sells flowers in the square to support her daughter and her mother. She also composes songs and plays the piano, but she has never dared to sing in public.
The film is written and directed by john carneythat the task is taken as if it were a false documentary. Thus, we have situations that seem real, whether in a room or in the middle of the street, where a magnificent sequence shot must be highlighted. However, we also find planes that wobble when they shouldn’t. For example, it is unfortunate when we see the two main characters, in their first chat with some privacy, from outside the cafeteria, moving away from the situation, and also that the cameraman’s pulse is so noticeable. All this makes sense when we think about the lack of means and the lack of pretensions, things that, by the way, do not have to be linked in a mandatory way.
Carney, on the other hand, does not film a traditional musical and he doesn’t use the songs to advance the plot. These are reserved for us to get to know the two protagonists better, his feelings, his past and his current situation. When this is already achieved with a song or two, the rest can be left over, because they contribute almost nothing. Unless, like me, you simply like to spend time listening to them. Oh, and no, they haven’t had the bad idea of dubbing the songs. Thank you Kubrick.
The cast of ‘Eleven’ it is only as limited as its claims. In fact, the two leads are musicians, not actors. The good news is that this is not noticeable at all (I mean the non-musical part, of course). Thus, basically, “our” gaze is going to rest almost all the time, first, on glen hansard and, to a lesser extent, in Markéta Irglová. Hansard is simply the king of the show, although Irglová has very inspired moments, like the first time she sits down at the piano and much later, in the studio, during the break, when she puts her hands on the keys again. .
But, I repeat, Hansard is the one who supports the weak film. He has a face that makes you like him from the beginning, and when he starts to sing and play the guitar he is fantastic. He also embodies a character who, simply put, is a piece of bread, it is easy to identify with him. His friendship with Irglová is well managed and they get along wonderfully. Once again we find ourselves with the typical love story that goes nowhere, focusing solely on the contemplation of specific moments of it; this is clear from almost the beginning and is a mistake, because it allows the viewer to take the outcome for granted and relax even more (or look at the clock more times).
In short, ‘Eleven’ It could have stayed on a record, but what better than to accompany the songs with images to have a more complete experience. Unfortunately, it is a low-flying film, which does not intend to make noise (yeah, yeah) and that can drive the impatient viewer crazy or who is somewhat tired. The best option, I think, is to focus on the songs and spend a bit of the rest, there is nothing to scratch, nor is it intended.