Sunday, January 23, 2011

Desolate Love

Samson and Delilah (2009) ( Samson & Delilah ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.4 Import - Australia ]The Australian film Samson and Delilah is touted as a love story.  But quite frankly, it's probably one of the saddest movies I've seen in a long time.  The titular characters are Aboriginal teenagers who live in a rural and desolate native community.  There's not much to do, so Samson spends most of his time getting high by inhaling gasoline and listening to the radio.  Yet he is  totally devoted to Delilah even when she shoos him away more times than not.  She spends most of her time caring for her elderly grandmother.  When her grandmother dies and Delilah's family blames her for the death, the two escape to the city.  But life is even harder as the two encounter homelessness, hunger, violence, hopelessness and despair.  Still, even in the bleakest of circumstances, unconditional love can and does endure.

So this isn't a happy story and it is painful to watch.  Yet I was riveted.  And the most amazing thing about the film is how little dialogue there is between the two teens.  In fact, Samson says nothing until almost the end of the film and then only to barely utter his name.  The fact that these first-time actors could render such powerful performances without uttering a word was incredible.  It speaks volumes about the filmmaker and the  power of film as a medium to show us how characters feel rather than tell us.

Samson and Delilah is available on DVD.

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