A Low-Budget Film | Short Film Review
By Vanessa Nim (March 17th, 2019)
Directed by: Paulo Leierer
Written by: Paulo Leierer
Produced by: Paula Garcia
Key Cast: Marcello Airoldi, Ana Paula Dias, Lécio Rabello, Daniel Dottori
Comedy is an easy tool to disguise ourselves with. What’s the phrase - “the one who laughs the loudest has cried the hardest?” Laughter is easily seen as something to hide behind, however, good comedy is not about hiding, but about bringing hope. In his short film, A Low-Budget Film, director Paolo Leierer showcases his comedic talent in a hilarious and heartwarming story of four plucky scientists trying to regain funding for their institute for “Alternative and Secondary Science”. Throughout its quips and quirks,A Low-Budget Film showcases comedy’s ability not just to soften hardship, but to bring hope and a will for the future.
A Low-Budget Film follows four scientists at the “Brazilian Institute of Alternative and Secondary Importance Research” as they fight the lack of funding and threat of closure with a promotional film. With a flare reminiscent of comedy classics such as The Officeand Arrested Development, the mockumentary chronicles the obstacles the team faces and the unfortunate circumstances leading to the institutes closure. Displaying an acute understanding of comedic subtlety and timing, A Low Budget Film, above all, showcases a firm grasp on the key to impactful comedy: authenticity.
Lead by Dr. Miguel (Marcello Airoldi), the quirky team of scientists includes a Madonna-double, Valquíria (Ana Paula Dias); Yugoslovian expat, Andrei (Lécio Rabello); and that-one-guy-who-doesn’t-know-what-he’s-doing, Túlio (Daniel Dottori). From Dr. Miguel’s well meaning obliviousness to Túlio’s endearing detachment, Valquíria’s gawky demeanour to Andrei’s lovable pitifulness, the cast brings a natural performance that easily denotes the awkward passion of the scrappy team of scientists. Capturing us through the hilarity of nerdy passion, the team brings a feeling of authenticity so, despite the absurdity of the institution, we can’t help but root for them.
The final scene of A Low-Budget Films its in soft contrast to the rest of the film. After everything has been done, the plucky team of scientists close the lights on the Brazilian Institute of Alternative and Secondary Importance Research forever, and a forlorn Miguel says softly, "When I started this, I didn’t have big dreams. I just wanted someone, some day, to come to me and say: ‘man, you changed the world’. That’s all… But I’ve found much more than, here, all these years.”
Although the emotional peak of the film, this scene is not the one that truly shows off the films strengths; rather, it is the credits that follow that speak to the teams intrinsic understanding of comedy. The credits detail life after the institute for the entire team. Together they formed Copernicus Film, their promotional documentary being their first release, with Andrei as a proud Yugoslavian cinematographer; Valquíria forming the sound department (also performing every Thursday as Madonna’s double); Tulio as a passionate film director; and Miguel as “the executive producer and biggest enthusiast of Copernicus”. Filled with the quips and quirks signature to the film, the finale to A Low-Budget Film showcases exactly what comedy is meant to do: help us move forward.
- Vanessa Nim