In post-soviet Ukraine, Vadik has to reassess his mother’s love advice when he meets Masha.

Love can be defined by many shapes and forms, but true love is much harder to define. This is exactly what filmmaker Eugen Merher tries to spell out in ‘Marry Me’. But it might just not be what you’d expect from a romantic film. Eugen takes the high road and reinvents the notion of “love story”. While sticking to some cliché-sounding narrative, the context and cinematic environment it takes place in will certainly leave lasting impressions.

Seeing beauty in someone’s ugliest moments means true love for me, I think

For me, this short is a testament to the power of love, even in the most adverse conditions. I have always found myself in a mad search for the meaning of love in my own life, and it hasn’t been easy so far. By making this short, I wanted to follow my gut and find this meaning through imagery instead of words and through my love for visceral filmmaking.

The main image that came to my mind early in the process was a couple performing their wedding dance while being pierced by bullets. Their love for each other in that moment would be so strong that it protects them from crumbling to death. I know, this sounds overly romantic and cliché – and I can’t help but love that idea.

One of my favourite moments in the film is when Masha talks in a rage about a burger and violently tosses it out of the car, while Vadik is simply staring at her cracked lips, her mad eyes – helplessly falling in love. Seeing beauty in someone’s ugliest moments means true love for me, I think.

The Eastern European setting (Kyiv, Ukraine) came as a natural idea to us for this story because it’s close to where I grew up and I wanted to explore this theme with local actors in my mother tongue – Russian.

To work around some cliché elements in ‘Marry Me’, the creative team set a pretty wild environment to pivot expectations. Giving a love story some shot guns, a semi-automatic and a mother’s advice. It was all shot with Alexa Classic and Alexa Mini with Cooke Anamorphic lenses. A Technocrane was used for the final flotation scene.A difficult on to shoot given that they only had a 45 minutes of blue hour for the entire ending scene.