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Vanessa Gazy: Highway to the Top

With her latest short, Shiloh about to screen at Flickerfest and her first feature receiving development funds from Screen Australia, we check in with fast-rising filmmaker Vanessa Gazy.
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For Now

Acting, Australian, Australian New Wave Filmmakers, Director, Home, Review, Streaming, This Week 2 Comments

Four young adults embark on a road trip from LA to San Francisco. there’s Kane (Kane Senes), an Australian filmmaker; his girlfriend Hannah (Hannah Barlow), an actress struggling for her big break; her brother Connor (Connor Barlow), a ballet dancer heading for an audition in San Francisco, and Katherine, a friend who has been crashing on Kane and Hannah’s couch and is starting to wear out her welcome. Kane plans to propose to Hannah when the moment is right, but underlying tensions and unresolved issues between the four might make that impossible.

A semi-autobiographical film shot on a shoe-string budget over the course of seven days, For Now is light on plot but functions well as a “hang-out” movie. It’s mumblecore through and through, adopting the improvisational, unscripted style of the Duplass brothers and Joe Swanberg, with everyone playing analogues of themselves and processing their real world anxieties and interpersonal conflicts for the camera. Whether that’s pretentious is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s worth remembering that these are members of a generation that have grown up in the panopticon of social media – performative behaviour arises naturally out of that environment.

It helps that they’re, by and large, fun to be around – there’s an easy amiability to the proceedings as the quartet cruise through some stunning NoCal landscapes, getting blissfully stoned and doing what millennials do. The comedy is incidental and banter-based, and the whole thing hangs together remarkably well, given that it’s a gestalt of single takes and on-the-fly moments.

It does drag a bit in places – the advantage of a script is that a scene can get to its actual point with economy, and there are times when we have to slog through the improv to reach the crux of the moment. Similarly, there are a couple of points when the drama is a bit beyond the actors’ capabilities in that exact moment, and perhaps an extra take or two would have nailed it. These are hardly deal-breakers, though.

A handcrafted film possessed of easy charm, For Now is definitely worth a look.