Samson & Delilah by Warwick Thornton takes a look closer to one of serious problems encountered by the authorities on Aboriginal communities: the marginalization of some of them.
Samson (Rowan MacNamara) and Delilah (Marissa Gibson)’s world is small – an isolated community in the Central Australian desert. When tragedy strikes they turn their backs on home and embark on a journey of survival. Lost, unwanted and alone they discover that life isn’t always fair, but love never judges.
Australia and the Aboriginal people
Land of cinema, Australia is full of famous actors/actresses (Russel Crowe, Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett…), recognized directors (Peter Weir, Baz Luhrmann, Jane Campion …) and success films (Australia, Crocodile Dundee, Mary and Max…). But behind its success, its surf beaches, its beautiful landscapes classified as World Heritage by UNESCO and its billabongs ( “a backwater channel that forms a lagoon or pool”, Collins) filled with crocodiles, live Aborigines. Long excluded and forgotten by Australian society, Aborigines often represent Australia in the world through their art and their tradition.
Filmed at the nearest non-professional actors (originally director of photography, the director shot himself the film) at Jay Creek, 45 miles west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Samson & Delilah follows two teenagers in their wanderings in a Western society that they are unable to integrate. In fact, by gradually returning to their homeland, the aborigines have formed community. But when a member of the community is excluded, he finds himself wandering the streets of cities where he does not understand the codes, unable to integrate and completely uprooted. He’ll often fall in drugs (Samson spends his time sniffing gasoline), alcohol (beer is often prohibited to Aborigines in many tourist sites) and theft (security guards routinely follow Samson in supermarkets).
Samson & Delilah
a movie to watch
to understand the Aboriginal people
Aborigine himself, the filmmaker Warwick Thornton chooses to shot Samson & Delilah as a documentary by the choice of many camera shots in the shoulder and the choice of a very slow tempo. Indeed, it is not uncommon for plans to extend until exhaustion, as if to underline this existential void of the life of the two main characters.
Closer to one of serious problems encountered by the authorities on Aboriginal communities (it is not uncommon to see these exiled Aborigines dragged through the streets of cities and selling uninteresting aboriginal paintings as Delilah, Samson & Delilah has received the Camera d’Or at Cannes Film Festival 2009 (award for best first feature film). So a movie to watch to understand the Aboriginal people for it is impossible to meet them without a guide (people living in autarcy, it is often impossible to go in Aboriginal communities if we’re not an Aborigine yourself).
To learn more:
- Samson & Delilah (2009)
Director, Director of photography ans Scriptwriter: Warwick Thornton
Producer: Kath Shelper
Rowan McNamara: Samson
Marissa Gibson: Delilah
Mitjili Napanangka Gibson: Nana
Scott Thornton: Gonzo
- French release: 11/25/2009
French film distributor: Why Not Productions