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Samson and Delilah

Samson – anti-hero of a haunting, sometimes upsetting Australian film.

Samson lives in a tin shack on an isolated aboriginal settlement with his older brother who plays in a reggae band. He won’t, though, let teenage Samson even touch his guitar. Nearby, Delilah looks after her ailing Nana – whose paintings sell to a city gallery – and rebuffs Samson’s efforts to court her. Samson is bored, sometimes sniffs petrol, and is a general nuisance. When Nana dies, and the older women blame Delilah, she takes off with Samson in the white store owner’s car.

They land up in the city, and rarely will you see scenes of such grimness. With no money or means of support they beg and steal what little food comes their way. Delilah tries to sell a painting in a white-owned gallery selling indigenous art and is dismissed out of hand. Samson, and then Delilah, resort to petrol sniffing. Living under a motorway flyover, a homeless aboriginal man – a classic ‘fool’ spouting wisdom and played by the director’s brother – shares his food and keeps them alive.

This is a haunting and sometimes upsetting film – with little dialogue but great authenticity and power – about love rather than romance, and which, from the depths, finds hope.

*ML*

New Internationalist issue 431 magazine cover This article is from the April 2010 issue of New Internationalist.
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