There are moments in Vacant Possession (1994) when the past becomes a material presence. Writer/director Margot Nash’s ambitious ‘state of the nation’ film probes Australia’s shifting cultural landscape, and lays the textures of history over the uncertain outline of the present... This is a fascinating companion piece to her autobiographical documentary The Silences (Margot Nash, 2016); the two films are richly intertextual in their exploration of her own difficult childhood.
It’s clear that, at a certain point, Nash felt a need to deeply explore the fraught father-daughter relationship: fraught with its own potential transgressions involving sex and violence, and charged by the very thrill of these subterranean desires and possibilities. Frank (Stanton is great in the role) starts off as shifty, scary, near-psychotic figure. But he quickly metamorphoses from a simple, symbol of monstrous patriarchy into a compelling, fascinating individual.