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Driven by a powerful performance from Pamela Rabe, Margot Nash’s acclaimed first feature – now gloriously restored and world-premiering at MIFF – is a must for the big screen.

Vacant Possession was the first narrative feature film from Australian cinematic polymath and award-winning documentarian Margot Nash (The Silences, MIFF 2015). Both intensely personal and overtly political, it follows two families – one white, one Aboriginal – trying to reconcile the skeletons in their intertwined histories. Connecting them is Tessa (Rabe), who, as a teen, was driven from the family home when she became pregnant by her Aboriginal boyfriend. Now grown-up, Tessa has returned following her mother’s death and must confront her memories of the past as they begin to blur with the realities of the present.

Originally debuting at MIFF in 1995 and multi-nominated at that year’s AFI Awards, this hauntingly symbolic film boldly examines Australia’s history of colonisation and dispossession. Nash’s surreal, often dreamlike narrative is brilliantly conjured by Dion Beebe’s gorgeously textured cinematography and Alistair Jones’ evocative score, while a dynamic cast that also includes John Stanton, Linden Wilkinson and Tom E Lewis keep things compellingly grounded.

“Nash’s handling of the material is vivid and inventive. It’s a truly exciting piece of cinema … Unquestionably one of the best and most impressive Australian films of the 1990s.” – The Age