Reflecting on Vanitas: Archives, Affects, Ethics


  • Glenn D'Cruz Honorary Associate Professor - School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia


Vanitas is a short film written by Glenn D’Cruz and co-directed by Glenn D’Cruz and Steven Andrew McIntyre with animation art by John Graham. The work premiered at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival and won awards for best director and best Melbourne short film at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. It also received a special mention at the Antenna Documentary Film Festival in Sydney in October 2022. Vanitas explores D’Cruz’s often-fraught relationship with his Anglo-Indian father, Anto, who died in 1985 at the age of 53. This multi-layered work is, on one level, a belated eulogy to Anto D’Cruz, but it is also about the way some Anglo-Indians experienced the sting of racism and thwarted ambition as a consequence of historical and cultural forces that are not always easily apprehended during the messy bustle of everyday life. In this short article, D’Cruz reflects on the film’s creative and collaborative processes. It is important to be aware that while Vanitas is not a work of fiction it is a creative work that uses literary, theatrical, filmic and painterly techniques to tell its story.