Love Eterne (2011) – By Duane L. Martin

Love Eterne is a semi-short film from director Joseph Villapaz in which we find a girl named Medina (Melissa Navia) who’s struggling to deal with the loss of the one true love of her life who passed away. She deals with her new reality day to day with the help of her martial arts and the loving care of her friends and brother. Quinn (James Gill) just got dumped by his girlfriend who he was deeply in love with, and is now trying to deal with his feelings of loss, rejection and depression with the help of his best friends. Sometimes, coincidences can bring two lonely people together, and show them how to find happiness again.

This film comes in at 50 minutes 30 seconds, and while I applaud the message the film is trying to convey, this film is so utterly riddled with problems that I found it hard to concentrate on it at all, much less to actually care about any of the characters.

The most glaring problem with this film is the utterly horrific sound. There are parts where there’s a narration or someone off screen saying something where a big black window pops up with the inaudible dialog. The sound over the rest of the film is incredibly over compressed and littered with compression artifacts. At some point in the film, the sound even starts jumping from left to center to right and back and forth randomly. When the sound does work, the levels are generally low, and in some scenes, so slow that it makes it hard to catch the dialog or to even focus on what you can hear.

Then there’s the smudge. There’s a smudge on the camera lens that appears in various scenes, and I don’t mean consecutive scenes, but completely unrelated scenes shot at different times. It just keeps showing up.

The acting in the film is ok, but at times it feels forced and the dialog feels recited. The cast was generally likeable though and did a good job with the material they had to work with.

So how could the problems have been avoided? Well, first off, shoot some test scenes and check them for any technical issues. The sound issues should have been ovious from the start and dealt with accordingly. Also, clean the camera lens before each shoot. Shooting a quick test scene and watching it back would have shown the smudge. The narration, or dialog from someone off screen or whatever it was supposed to be could have been recorded and mixed in during post rather than using a big black box with text in it. Also, there was a lot of extraneous street noise on the outside shots. I’m guessing that some kind of stereo area mic was used to record the sound, and it wasn’t set properly. A proper directional mic, or even concealed wireless mics would have isolated the sound far better and reduced the street noise considerably.

I applaud anyone who gets out there and makes a film. It takes a lot of time and effort to get a cast together, pick locations and to arrange all the other things that go into making a film. When you do decide to put the time and effort into it however, you have to make sure that all the technical issues you’re having are identified before production or early in the production process, so they can be dealt with and don’t become running issues throughout the film.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out the film’s website at http://www.azunnearts.com/LoveEterne/Blog.