Friday, 29 January 2010

Samson and Delilah

Lowdown: Aboriginals’ current day tragedy through the experience of two lovers.
Samson and Delilah has pretty much won all Aussie cinema awards it could compete in during 2009, so you could say I was surprised to see ABC (a non commercial channel) broadcast it, in high definition, shortly after it went off the cinemas. Recorded by our much beloved PVR, we sat down to watch it a while later.
Samson and Delilah are young aboriginals living in a modern day derelict aboriginal village (for lack of a better word). Samson wakes up each morning to a life of doing nothing worthwhile: family and friends play monotonic ska music right next to his room's door, so instead of going crazy he opts for sniffing petrol as his favorite pastime. Delilah's prospects are not much better: she's busy looking after her elderly grandmother, with a daily routine of ensuring she takes her medicines, taking her to the medical care rounds, and taking her to church.
Days pass by but then two things happen: Samson can't take it anymore and breaks up the ska band's guitar, which earns him a good beating; and Delilah's grandmother dies, which earns her a good beating when relatives accuse her of not taking good care of her elder. What can our heroes do about it? Together, they run away to the outside world, what we refer to as the normal world (if my sense of recognition is right, they go to Alice Springs). But can they cope in "our" world? Samson and Delilah plays a very grim scenario there.
Overall, Samson and Delilah is a film that discusses the prospects - or lack of - of Australia's contemporary aboriginal community. Between their very miserable villages and the general society that doesn't give them a chance, aboriginals - and thus Aussie society as a whole - have a problem.
Style wise, Samson and Delilah is very minimalistic. Dialog is minimal, and everything is slow as far as the film's pacing is concerned (which serves the film's message perfectly). Still, I have to say that I was often bored enough to feel disconnected.
Best scene: Delilah pushes her grandmother's wheelchair along her village's dirt roads and keeps getting it stuck. As the driver of a baby's stroller I can definitely identify with the sense of frustration this can bring.
Overall: Interesting, but too eccentric to truly move me. 3 out of 5 stars.

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