Friday, 27 November 2009
DVD REVIEW: SAMSON AND DELILAH
Available now on DVD
Warwick Thornton's Samson and Delilah is sparse and brutal. Yes it's hard going but it rewards you by ending on a postive note, one of hope. I thought I should get that in early since most people will have only heard how tough it is and avoided it as a result.
One of the benefits of DVD is that you can come to a film in your own time. You can also take breathers when you need to, and you may need to. Samson and Delilah are two teenagers in an aboriginal community. Samson (Rowan McNamara) spends his days getting high on petrol; Delilah (Marissa Gibson) spends hers with her grandmother, whom she cares for, painting. When her grandmother dies and the town's women beat her as punishment, she and Samson, who has quietly courted her, flee.
It's when they take to the road that the pair's lives spiral downward and one horrible event is the impetus for Delilah to join Samson in his petrol addiction. There's more to follow but I won't go into detail here, suffice to say that it gets worse before it gets better.
Whether you like it or not, you have to appreciate Samson and Delilah as some kind of miracle. A first time director working with two non-professional actors, speaking an indigenous dialogue when they choose to speak at all. The film won the Camera D'or at this year's Cannes Film Festival and has been submitted as Australia's entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category for this year's Oscars.
If that helps it achieve a wider audience, both here and abroad, then all the better. No one goes to films when they're told they must, that it's important; Australians seem reluctant to go to Australian films regardless, Mao's Last Dancer excepted.
Now that it's on DVD, people who had doubts initially will come to Samson and Delilah in their own time and not because they've been brow beaten into it. They won't be entertained, necessarily, but they will be rewarded.