A young man looks out over his balcony and sees the woman of his dreams across the street. Seeking her attention, he tries gambit after gambit to win her over.
First, he seeks her attention by trying to play roles that she may find intriguing, but neither masculine posturing or pseudo-intellectual posing capture her attention. But just when he has given up, he gets an unexpected second chance — and realizes there’s another route to his beloved’s heart.
Writer-director Mark Playne’s sweet-natured, warm-hearted short romance has a charming, almost old-fashioned look and feel, as well as an unabashed pleasure in the inherent beauty and magic of cinema to transform and captivate viewers in its classic tale of love and courtship.
Told without dialogue, the storytelling nevertheless has a progression that’s as old as time itself: boy sees girl, falls in love and tries to gain her attention. The pacing is aided by an excellent musical score, which shifts seamlessly from cafe music to jazz to plaintive guitars, capturing the flickering hopes and confusion of the striving main character. It’s a pleasure simply to listen to the film on its own — a creative strategy that also ties in beautifully at the film’s conclusion.
The score also gives an inherent musicality to the film itself, which is also aided by its vibrant colors and sweeping camera movements. Though the city blocks are narrow and the apartments small, the visual approach injects movement and color into the story, endowing the setting and story with poetry and whimsy. The main narrative beats are interjected with short scenes of the city itself, full of dogs walking on the sidewalk, old men and women tending to friendships and homes and children playing in the street. These interjections open up the film — and pay off with its lovely grace note of an ending, as the spell of love works itself in an unexpected way.
“Love at First Sight” harkens back to an earlier golden age of cinema, where films seek to entertain and transport audiences not just through engaging, emotional narratives but through the magic of moving pictures themselves. Through its lovely melding of score, sound and image, it’s a sweet and charming romance that is unafraid of the inherent emotion of its genre.
And through capturing the beauty of a paper falling in the window, the colors of a building, or the humming of a beautiful girl in a cafe, it also encourages viewers to seek and behold the magic and romance of our own everyday lives — a reminder and encouragement that is needed more than ever.