The Micro-Budget SciFi film is a tradition dating back decades. On one hand, you have films like Plan 9 from Outer Space and The Milpitas Monster, and on the other you classics like Pi. I'm happy to report that the wonderful short Kaalchakra is much closer to Pi than Plan 9.
Professor Bakshi is dying, and he's single-mindedly rushing towards developing time-travel. His assistant, Veena, has just gotten accepted to a NASA internship. Knowing his time is exceptionally short, the Prof puts together a party for Time-Travelers, which will only be announced after it has happened.
Of course, someone shows up, and that's where the fun begins.
There is a movement today to create films, not just YouTube videos but Festival-worthy shorts, that are created on the easiest, most accessible cameras in the world today: smartphones. This new Cinema du iPhone has led to some exceptionally fun movies, and real dogs, but ultimately it is a promise that was made when the first consumer cameras hit the market - anyone can make a movie; anyone can be a filmmaker. Kaalchakra was made for about 100 US dollars, and it does not show at all. In fact, I'd say they made some pretty ballsy moves considering the budget. Professor Bakshi is old, and instead of finding an older actor, they made-up a younger guy, and maybe it's the black-and-white cinematography, but I had trouble telling. The cast doubled as the crew, and while you'd never mistake it for Star Wars, it delivered with competence in all the technical aspects.
The story was strong, and though a couple of scenes ran a touch long, it never felt as if it was lagging. When a potential time-traveller shows up at the party, things get funny, and after that, it gets dramatic, and after that, it gets heart-warming, and then funny again. It plays with the emotional tone, and that was my favorite part.
Taken as a whole, there are few filmmakers in the world who could pull off such a great film with so little in the way of equipment and money, and even those with access to all their heart desired, few could make a science fiction film that felt so breath-takingly in love with the world.
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.