Award-winning film The Silences and creator Margot Nash at Wauchope Arts on January 21

Complex relationship: Ethel Nash and her daughter, the film-maker Margot Nash who is coming to Wauchope.
Complex relationship: Ethel Nash and her daughter, the film-maker Margot Nash who is coming to Wauchope.

A mother, a daughter, family secrets is the intriguing description of the award-winning documentary, The Silences coming to Wauchope Arts on January 21.

Special screening: Margot Nash is coming to Wauchope Arts on January 21 to talk about her award-winning documentary, The Silences.

Special screening: Margot Nash is coming to Wauchope Arts on January 21 to talk about her award-winning documentary, The Silences.

Director and writer Margot Nash will introduce it, and answer questions afterwards.

The Silences is a personal essay documentary about the tangled bonds, secret histories and unspoken traumas of family life that stretches from New Zealand to the Australian suburbs.

It explores early childhood and the silences of the past that resonate in the present, and draws on a wealth of photographs, letters, oral histories, documentary footage and clips from the filmmaker’s previous work.

Previously, Margot Nash had directed short films, documentaries and two feature dramas Vacant Possession (1994) and Call Me Mum (2005).

“Making ‘The Silences’ meant stepping back into my family history and questioning the narratives I had grown up with.

“Family stories always seemed set in stone yet I knew there were other stories, hovering in the background, if only I could find more evidence, if only I could remember,” she says.

Margot’s memories of early childhood are different to her sister’s.

“Yet we both grew up in the same terrifying household with its silences and tensions and both struggled with the reality of our father’s mental illness.

“My relationship with my mother had always been fraught and after she died a part of me could not let go of trying to understand her.  The relationship with the mother is the primary relationship and early childhood the cauldron that forms us all.” 

The relationship with the mother is the primary relationship and early childhood the cauldron that forms us all.

Margot Nash

Margot recognises that many women of her mother’s generation lived lives of quiet desperation.

“My mother talked constantly, but what lay behind her inability to speak about things that really mattered?”

Told after her mother’s death, The Silences eschews happy endings, to speak about psychological complexity and acceptance.

Among other accolades, the documentary won the Australian Directors Guild Award for documentary, and Best Feature in the 2nd Reel Sydney Festival of World Cinema. 

The Silences is at Wauchope Arts Hall on Saturday January 21. 

Tickets at the door from 7.30pm - $15.