Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Samson and Delilah

Warwick Thornton, Australia, 2009 (8.2*)

Australian Film Institute, Best Picture
Samson & Delilah is not the biblical duo, but a couple of aborigine teenagers in the central Australian desert. Delilah (Marissa Gibson) lives in austere poverty with her Nana (Mitjili Napanangka Gibson), who takes care of the very old Nana; together they survive by making Aborigine rugs for sale at an upscale native art gallery run by upper-class whites.

The aimless petrol-sniffing Samson (Rowan McNamara) lives with older brother (Matthew Gibson) with whom he doesn't get along, being extremely fed up with the brother's one-song reggae band, which seems to play the same music incessantly on their front porch. Samson decides to move to Delilah's place, which delights Nana, who calls him Delilah's husband, but frustrates the reluctant Delilah. This is all done without dialogue in a strange courtship ritual.

Soon, both teens are forced to hit the road after Nana unexpectly dies and the village women beat Delilah, while Samson's brother chases him off after an ugly confrontation. They're now a traveling couple depending on each other to survive. They meet their future at a highway overpass in a marginally sane and homeless white man named Gonzo, played by the director's brother Scott Thornton, who was replaying his own lifestyle.

The story is a wake-up call about downtrodden native Australians, and poverty-stricken outcasts everywhere, who are considered an untouchable problem but become an exploited lower class whenever possible. Not a pleasant film, but a necessary one. Warwick Thornton used film newcomers for his lead actors, and his debut film was selected as best feature by the Australian Film Institute, where it won three awards. It won 10 awards overall


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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