Margot Nash is a Sydney-based filmmaker and academic. Emerging from the vibrant Melbourne theatre scene of the 1970s (when she was involved with the Melbourne Theatre Company and the Australian Performing Group at the Pram Factory) she has gone on to make a number of award-winning films.
Inflected by Nash’s lifelong feminism, the three films in this program provide an introduction, for those that need it, to one of Australia’s great, quietly radical cross-disciplinary filmmakers.
The Melbourne Cinémathèque is extremely proud to present this film event, which will be introduced by the filmmaker herself.
7:00PM – THE SILENCES
Margot Nash (2015) 73 mins M
This profoundly moving and tough essay on the tangled bonds, secret histories and unspoken traumas of family life stretches from New Zealand to the Australian suburbs. Nash’s exploration of her childhood and the “silences” of family, mental illness and the past draws upon a wealth of photographs, letters, oral histories, documentary footage and clips from her previous work. An extraordinarily honest portrait of the complex and confusing ties of love, loss and kinship between a mother and daughter.
Abandonment, Loss and Longing in Margot Nash’s The Silences by Felicity Ford.
Margot Nash (1989) 26 mins.
Three women, all strangers, travel through separate but interconnected worlds. Screening to be introduced by the filmmaker.
Both films courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive, Australia.
9:05PM – VACANT POSSESSION
Margot Nash (1995) 95 mins M
Like Nash’s recent, acclaimed essay film, The Silences, this is a work that explores the gaps caused by conflicting self-images, between the need to preserve the shell of a shared, traumatic past and the desire, through “progress”, to expunge it. Tessa (Pamela Rabe) feels the pull to return to her childhood house in the wake of her mother’s death. The messy idea of home, and everything unspoken and unresolved attached to it, is at the centre of a film that sits at an important crossroads in Nash’s career. The title “refers not only to the ‘vacant possession’ of the house but also to Australia itself” (David Stratton).
Screening to be introduced by the filmmaker. 35mm print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive, Australia.
Sensing the Past: Margot Nash’s Vacant Possession by Gabrielle O’Brien.