Australia, 1995 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Margot Nash

Following the death of her mother, Tessa travels home to Australia to deal with the estate and a reunion with her older sister. Returning to her family home, a tired, sun bleached weatherboard house adjacent to Botany Bay, she is confronted by the collected debris of memory; the fears, the tears and the spectre of the father who had forced her to flee, all those years ago.

Within cooee of Cook's landing place, Tessa's family house is close to that of an Aboriginal family she knew from her childhood. While she has been away (twenty years or more) the nation has changed but not that house.

In confronting her father (both the real and the remembered) amidst the remains of the old home, the past and the present collide for Tessa in a maelstrom of ramifications that no one could have expected.

A brooding and atmospheric piece of cinema with one eye on the past, the other firmly in the present, Margot Nash's first feature is an ambi­tious drama that addresses hearth and place, remembrance and regret in a telling, contempo­rary setting. (TB)

"The great Australian dream is to own a house, but for Aboriginal people, the dream is to regain ownership of the sacred land. Vacant Pos­session is the story of a house, land and two fami­lies—one white, one aboriginal—both living in the shadow of the past."

See also...

Shadow Panic

Three women, all strangers, synchronistically move through their separate, yet interconnected worlds. They introduce each other via the gaze of the last character and a relay of images is created with... More »


When nothing is spoken, nothing can be lost. ... Filmmaker Margot Nash (Vacant Possession, MIFF 1995) turns her acclaimed documentary lens on herself in The Silences, a haunting and deeply moving atte... More »

Happy Little Vegemites - Unauthorised

A tough and gritty film about friendship and homelessness, the characters and situations have a warmth humour and roundness to them without the least bit of saccarine. Shot in 16 mm black and white Ve... More »

MUSHROOMS ... More »


The moving and visual journey of Sylvania. a young Italian woman, who is torn between her parent's strong and unbreakable traditional values and her own desire for sexual freedom. (MI) ... More »


Who is she and why are they saying these terrible things about her? What did Queeny ever do to deserve this public approbation? Not that everyone dislikes her. but the Jury's still out if the 22 inter... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director