VACANT POSSESSION (1995) [Feature]

Australia (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."

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