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Long Journey of Love - “Love in Vain” Review

The film "Love in Vain" is a musical journey. As much as the music drives it forward, the story also plays a role. Just as acting, narration, and storytelling are important, so is the musician and their instrument. In this movie, one cannot separate the two. They both move forward simultaneously, while the story unfolds and the connection between characters, situations, locations, and the journey itself becomes clear, the music also reaches maturity.

Director Rudy Strukoff

The writer, director, editor, and actor of this film is Rudy Strukoff. Rudy, who is himself a guitarist and cinema teacher, starts his movie with scenes of a train track. Scenes that from the very beginning share the theme of the movie with us. Going, traveling, being on the way. In this work, which is both a short film and somewhat of a music video, images alone are the storyteller. Images that have been recorded with care and precision and edited correctly move the story forward without the need for a narrator or screenwriter.

The movie begins at a motel. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, we see the hero chasing after a woman in a red dress. While he plays his guitar, we watch the woman in the red dress walks away. We know that the story is supposed to revolve around their relationship, but questions arise in our minds. Who is this man? Does the woman exist or is she just in his imagination? Has everything been lost or is there still hope?

From the very beginning, as the guitarist starts to play, we see the man and woman engaged in conversation at the train station. We still don't have answers to all of our questions, but we understand that something is not right about their relationship. As the movies progresses and we see numerous scenes of passing trains and the passage of time, we realize that there is nothing romantic left between these two. That's why, apart from the conversation scene, we always see them alone. They are always alone. The man playing and singing, and the woman either walking with her suitcase or waiting at the station. Both of them have to wait. A bitter waiting that seems unlikely to lead to a pleasant outcome.

In “Love in Vain”, Rudy Strukoff uses three songs, two of which he has composed himself. He, who knows cinema and music well, has managed to combine these three pieces with the tone and structure of the film in such a way that each one has a reasonable impact on the audience and creates the feeling that the filmmaker intends. At the beginning of the movie, the tone is indifferent and carefree, and Rudy emphasizes the hero's indifference and freedom with his music. In the middle of the movie, we face a peaceful, reconciliatory, and romantic tone. And the film's credits are accompanied by a kind of free and unrestrained music. The path that the hero takes, from initial longing and loneliness to getting closer to his beloved and trying to regain their lost relationship, and ultimately becoming disillusioned with its form, is well expressed through the movie's images and tone.

In many of the cinematic works that are related to music, the role of music is to intensify the hero's inner feelings, advance the flow, and ultimately maintain the film's internal rhythm. Love in Vain also has this function for music. We see the musician playing and singing, who is simultaneously the hero of the story and the narrator. He is trying to reach a woman who he once seemed to be in love with. The woman is ready to leave and is waiting at the station for a train. The train itself plays an important role in this film. We see it passing by in the background many times. We see the station and the railway tracks. All of these are signs of departure that accumulate in Love in Vain. The desire to leave is seen everywhere in the movie. The woman's desire to leave, who was once the hero's lover. The hero's desire to follow the woman. The desire to leave to distance himself from the woman.

In Love in Vain, the images complement the music, and the music completes the images. The performance between the man and woman is just right, and it is good that the filmmaker has tried to move the story forward without using any dialogue, relying solely on the power of image and music. Especially the scene where the man arrives at the station is remarkable in this regard. The woman is standing at the station, waiting for a train, while the man arrives and takes her suitcase. He clearly wants to reconcile with her. But the woman stops him and takes her suitcase back. What has happened in the past? We still don't know, but we have become much more familiar with the characteristics of this story and the situation of these people.

At the end of the movie, when the woman suddenly seems to regret her decision and decides to follow the man, we feel that it is too late. The last shot of the movie is of the man walking away while we also see him standing at the station. Perhaps this means that his heart is still stuck at the station.

Music videos and music-based movies are made all over the world, where music and love are the fundamental pillars. In this work, we are faced with a concise and simplified form of a long story. Based on short film frameworks that consider any length and detail irrelevant and any elaboration dangerous, Rudy Strukoff has tried to define his story in the simplest and most fluent way possible. The story of a man and a woman who have separated and now have a way to come back together, but will they take advantage of this opportunity? He has tried to tell this simple one-line story in the best possible way using the tools of image and music. Watch this movie yourself to see if he has succeeded in achieving this or not.


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