Samson Delilahed

June 25, 2009


Saw Warwick Thornton’s Samson and Delilah recently, 30 people in cinema as opposed to 1 (me) the week before for the shithouse My Year Without Sex (see note below).

Samson and Delilah is about as good a film as one can make about Aboriginal petrol sniffing, and the hopeless situation of many rural original Australians …it is uncompromising and brutal at times, to its credit. The direction is slow, ontological and assured. This close to the truth account of rural Indigenous Australia is long overdue and for that reason alone is an important film, as Jim Schembri noted on his blog here.

I couldn’t help thinking this is the real Australia…not Baz Luhrmnan’s glitzy camp fantasia.

The subjects it deals with are real and the film has a nice existential style in presenting them. There are even more serious issues like indigenous child sex abuse and white rape squads that drive up North, that are not really dealt with here. Though, a rape does happen off camera, and is very powerfully done (same the car accident – brilliant). There is also teen abuse with sticks in the Aboriginal ghetto. So, all in all it covers many issues…It’s brave and daring for all this…
But neither is it the whole picture, but I guess it need not be, of course.

But, I do think most Euro Aussies are aware of the raping and pillaging our ancestors have done to obtain this land, sorry or no, and that we have a duty of care to its original inhabitants. I think the Australian Aboriginals are connected to the land here by a strong and mystical bond of ‘blood and soil’. I’m interested, as a radical political trouble maker, in the notion of returning part of Australia to Aboriginal self-rule…say part of Northern Territory, WA or Qld? But until that happens White Australia is aware of many problems shown here and in the cities at least we have addressed some problems and at times provide ample social security to try and remedy them. But the rural problem is a harder nut to crack. I’d say working with community elders and a more aggressive program of action and cross community based initiatives could supply further hope…

This film raises these issues and portrays white Australia as being totally oblivious to Aborigines, which to some extent it is, but not entirely. This later accusation is a bit one sided,  and dare I say it unfair…

Overall Samson and Delilah is an important film, though, a rather depressing one for most of its length… and it may only preach only to the converted too, i.e., those who care about Aboriginal issues. The film ends well, I thought, which was needed. Overall I can’t help but feel it’s is a little overrated due to its Cannes win, but its a very strong Oz film about an important subject well worth your attention…

NOTE on My Year Without Sex (Not worth a review). …As I mentioned I saw Sarah Watt’s My Year Without Sex…this film is a microcosm of everything I hate about the Australian Film Industry…ugly people, mundane lives, Kitchen Sink dull story lines. Its like the film is made by various government departments like Department of Health, Taxation, Gambling, Communications, etc. It’s sickeningly PC at times and filled with every film school type cliché added to condescending and shallow lectures on religion, rich vs poor, sexism in billboards, et al., that are so passé it’s beyond a joke. And aneurysm is hardly a hot and exciting topic to centre a film around. Saturday night lets see a film on aneurysm! Yeah!!! For 15 bucks a head… and lets take our friends… NOT! It’s a pretty bad effort all round from (so called) Oz film industry darling Sarah Watt… and the results speak for themselves at the box office. Will probably win all the AFI’s though, of course, given all this…

3 Responses to “Samson Delilahed”

  1. I agree with most of what you say about both films. If you get the chance, see Thornton’s shorts, also a revelation. He’s a talent to watch.

    Watts seems to get stuck on the mundane, her stories are flat and lifeless. She doesn’t seem to breathe life into what could be a compelling tale. It’s the only Australian film I’ve seen this year that seems stuck in that rut the industry has been in for the last 2-3 years with the suburban-coming-of-age-disability-disadvantage thing happening (this time it’s an aneurysm). It reminds me of The Black Balloon, the film everyone ga-ga’d over, but was similarly mediocre. Films like these don’t commit to comedy, don’t commit to the social realist themes they tackle, sticking to the safe middle ground that fails dismally.

  2. Sex Film said

    Ultimately, the greater freedom afforded by the MPPA ratings system sounded the death knell for the Exploitation film. Sex Film

  3. Declan O'Gallagher said

    Bizarre the movie critics, so over the top exaggeration about how good it is. It’s not a well made film but it’s so low budget encouraging. let’s have 200 of these to one Baz Luhrman . Reminding me alot of the Irish movie “Once “, in that respect


    Like …. anyone can make a feature.

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