Sunday, 20 October 2013

About a Movie: Samson & Delilah (2009, Australia)

In 2009, I saw the film "Samson & Delilah"in Australia with my mother. At the time, I found it so brutal to watch that I had to walk out of the cinema in the middle of it.
Four years later, I still reference the film in conversation with people, now that I live in the U.S. Overseas, people usually recognize Nicole Kidman and the film "Australia" but not films like "Samson & Delilah" that deal with a much less romanticized, but more honest look at Australian history and the cultural (and literal) genocide that took place. I walked out of the cinema when I first saw this film not because I was unaware of the realities taking place in rural communities across Australia, but because the acting and the cinematography were so beautiful and detailed, that I cared deeply for the characters and found it hard to watch the injustice they were constantly served.
The names Samson and Delilah reference a biblical love story, although for the characters in this film, their romance (if you could even call it that) is nuanced and unfolds in an incredibly unique way. They barely speak to each other yet clearly show loyalty and a reliance on one another.
If I could suggest one single film for non-Australians to watch to learn about Australia, it would be this one. I think it is a brilliant attempt to deconstruct the Australian historical and cultural narrative and its symbols. Too often do we ignore the continual exploitation and abuse of Aboriginal people. By the way, lead actress Marissa Gibson (Delilah) would give Nicole Kidman 'a run for her money'! Her performance is eerily realistic and one to remember, as is the performance by lead actor Rowan McNamara (Samson).
I urge you all to watch this film and have conversations with those around you about cultural exploitation (through artwork), sexual abuse and the general disdain that is held by the general public for indigenous people both in Australia and the U.S. Remarks like "They need to get over it!"are based on ignorance and an unawareness of what still goes on today. Some of us will hopefully never know what it is like to have our immediate ancestors and culture diminished through violence and forced silencing, but we can respect the people who have gone through this and educate ourselves on the historical facts and their implications on our current society.

- Posted by Olympia

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