The phenomenon of falling in love at first sight, how it changes the course of life forever, and the monotonous, unbearable existence of a person affected by the loss of this love - these are the topics that have attracted the interest of filmmakers from the beginning, and have captured the hearts of readers for centuries. It is a difficult task to create a plot and characters that will attract the attention of the audience since love plays such a conceptual, irreplaceable role in human life and readers and viewers have seen and imprinted in their minds a whole cascade of diverse stories about typical lovers.
Beka Chabiashvili's short student film, "Only One" (2018) tries to touch on the above-mentioned topics, however, it is unable to develop either the in-depth dramaturgical development of the given story or the cinematic depiction of the character's spiritual world. There is a young man in the center of the story, he lives alone letting a room, and the story is built around this situation. One day, instead of an ordinary client, the character opens the door to his true, only love, and the culmination is visible at that moment, although its durability is questionable from the beginning, due to the banality of the narrative and the actors’ artificiality.
Despite everything, in the first minutes, the behavior of the main character creates a kind of idea about his type. It becomes obvious to the audience that he is a lonely young man, an “outsider,” who has fallen out of the habit of interacting with people or laughing. Such characters, in many cases, quickly arouse sympathy in the audience, so it is reasonable to make him the main one in a short film and let him appear from the beginning but unfortunately, the director fails to use the existing potential. One gets the impression that he doesn't even try to invite the audience to get to know the inner world and psychological state of his main character, and he completely relies on the superficiality of the narration and the skill of the actors, which is quite a common mistake among novice directors.
The actors largely fail to meet the director's trust, which may be the reason for the unsophisticated dialogues. None of the three actors stand out for their believability and authenticity, as if their eyes are not the emotions of the characters but the reflection of the camera. Obviously, the actors’ unnaturalness has a negative effect on the audience's perception of the story and characters because it becomes impossible to establish an emotional connection which is already difficult in a short film. Of course, there are moments and elements that the actors get away with. For example, the main actor, Vako Kartvelishvili, is able to convey the hero's characteristic facial expressions and the peculiarity of his nature, although watching the same expression for fifteen minutes becomes boring and, in itself, does not contribute to the development of the narrative. This is no longer an actor's game, but there is a dramaturgy problem because the screenwriter was unable to convey the character's development realistically and correctly.
One of the biggest problems with the film dramaturgy is the main character’s monotony, presenting him from only one angle. It seems there is nothing in his life except finding and losing love, except for a lifeless expression. He tries very hard to be in character and appropriate to the situation but in the excessive effort, the emotions wear off and his image resembles an eccentric parody of a devastated, hopeless and half-alive person, which is terribly striking for today's viewers. This might be the director’s vision - to define the main character by the tragedy of the loss of love (although it should be noted that he was neither full of life before finding love, nor after finding it) because, of course, such things drain a person, make his life colorless and at least for some time extinguish the spark of life in it. In this case, one way or another, the director’s intention is understandable, but if he wanted to show how painful it is to fall flat on the ground after being on the ninth heaven with a loved one, he should have shown the main character from a different angle in the film exposition, so that the change was obvious and would affect the audience’s emotions better. The other option of the director's idea is also presumable - he might have wanted to show how one bright person brought color into another person’s life, which was dull and colorless before her appearance and how he followed her back when she left. If this was indeed the author's vision, then the relationship between these characters should have been more emphasized, more time and energy should have been devoted to showing the small details and when the characters' paths diverge later in the story, they would have made the audience feel more sympathetic towards them, and most importantly, it should have been obvious to bring light into the main character’s black and white life.
The pace of the film is also problematic, which is not only the fault of the dramaturgy but of the insufficient use of technical elements as well. It is true that there is almost no action in the film and it is built on dialogues and more often on awkward silence but still the camera could have been loaded more, it could have been used more intelligently, so that the already long scenes did not seem even more endless to the audience. In this regard, two different dinner scenes are particularly noteworthy, which, on the one hand, are well used as a parallel to compare the main character's relationship with his true love and the relationship that begins after its loss, but on the other hand, take up too much space of the small timeline of the film and completely cover all the positives that the existence of these scenes bring to the development of the narrative. Extremely prolonged scenes are even more noticeable at the background of the fast pace of the start and all this makes it unclear what the director wants to say.
The director gives us a hint (by means of the earring) that despite the loss of love, it has not disappeared from the character's life, on the contrary, it follows him like a shadow. Even the relationship with the current lover, in which there is not even the slightest spark of love and mutual understanding, is one of the hints that the main character is still living in the past, still loves the one he considers his true, only love. It's all rather unnatural, again because the intensity and meaning of the relationship between these two characters isn't shown in as much depth as the story and its finale require. Moreover, the film's title tells us more about the character's feelings than the little screen time that these two heroes spend together. It is clear that with these hints and the similar development of the plot, the author wanted to reach the finale, which tells the story of the film - that in the life of this character and, probably, of most people, there is that one person whom he will never forget, towards whom, by the principle of randomness of the world or inner, inextinguishable feelings, all roads lead but there is potential in the film itself to convey the message better, more interestingly and comprehensibly to the audience.
The finale of the film raises the question - how real is what the character sees in the car mirror? At a glance, it seems like an open ending, but the audience is not left with enough space for speculation, so it might be more logical to trust the main character's ability to perceive reality, however, in this case, the ending itself turns out to be quite illogical and unclear... That is why, finally, both, the explanation of the ending and the main point of the film depend on the viewer. The question is whether the viewer tries hard to unravel the relationship that has not reached his mind.