Five (or so) Films That Influenced FOR NOW

November 5, 2019
Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes, the Australian writers/producers/actors/directors of US made indie, For Now, discuss the films that inspired them.

The Puffy Chair (dir. Mark & Jay Duplass)

The first film by Mark & Jay Duplass was made for $15,000 and launched their careers. If that isn’t motivation for a filmmaker, then what is? There are many reasons why this flick was a touchstone for us: it’s a road movie about a sibling relationship; it’s about the anxiety of familial relationships and balancing them with the personal ones; it’s about being brutally honest with yourself and developing self awareness by driving the people closest to you, crazy, because only then can you get over that hump you’re stuck on, close that chapter in your life and open a new one. It’s a film about growing up, for adults. We really related to that. It became a parent film for us, for sure.

Your Sister’s Sister (Lynn Shelton)

If The Puffy Chair is the father of For Now, then Lynn Shelton’s angsty dramedy about estranged sibling relationships, is the mother. Shelton operates in a style not dissimilar from the Duplass brothers and Joe Swanberg, but it feels that little bit more elevated, more calculated, more precise. She sets a trap – the film lulling you into its warm embrace before kneeing you in the balls. But it’s all done with a wicked sense of humour and deep sense of empathy. Shelton doesn’t judge her characters – she shows the good and the bad, the complexity of people. The small cast of characters have mixed expectations of each other that they’re not able to deliver on because of their own bullshit but you love them because they remind you of yourself.

Woman Under the Influence / Faces (dir. John Cassavetes)

Every one of John Cassavetes’ films is a master class in authentic performances and stripping away any ounce of artifice. The Godfather of American independent cinema, Cassavetes believed that the only thing that matters in movies are the characters – the people. The performances, therefore, must come first. To hell with the script and its manicured lines, designed to move the scene along – how do real people talk to each other? To hell with staged blocking and focus marks – the actors should be free to do whatever feels right in the moment – the camera can keep up! It’s an electric way of working and we completely embraced it, knowing that the only way this movie was going to work was if we kept it 100% real. JC was our north star.

Happy Christmas / Drinking Buddies (dir. Joe Swanberg)

It’s hard to separate these Joe Swanberg films in terms of how they influenced us because we watched them both to death. The modus operandi of a Joe Swanberg film is not to go on an intense journey or be bowled over by a dramatic plot in the way of 99% of movies, but rather, to make you, the viewer, feel seen, as if he’s speaking right to you by capturing something you’ve actually experienced in your everyday life but haven’t been able to express. It feels like he’s having an existential conversation with you at a barbeque in someone’s backyard – it’s both casual and profound at the same time and makes you want to hang out with the guy again but you probably won’t see him for another year. We just wanted to make our version of that.

The ‘Before Sunrise’ Trilogy (dir. Richard Linklater)

We had just started dating when Before Midnight came out, so we re-watched the first two flicks one afternoon and rushed out the door to catch the new one that night. Seeing all three in a row was a real treat and has been a lasting memory throughout our relationship. They’re very personal films for Linklater and each one reflects the period of life he was in when he made them, which is what we set out to do with For Now and being in our twenties. We half-seriously joke about making a sequel in our thirties and another in our forties… then we remember what we went through to make just one of them and we feel like throwing up.

For Now is available now on Ozflix

Check out this clip from FOR NOW

Main Photo by Metaxia Coustas

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