Having just read this pussy footing review of this film, I am brought back to thinking about it, though not that much. I saw it last week in Sydney while killing some time before heading off to my hotel for the night. I was very keen to see it having seen it get five stars (that’s a lot of stars out of five) from I think both Margaret P and David S. Now I loathe both of them, but stars are stars and often if they think a film is good I agree.
So off I went expecting something pretty damn triffic. I read another comment from someone which was that this film was a lot better than a lot of stuff made about aborigines with ‘liberal – ie left – sentiment’ or some such thing.
I can’t really say whether I think the film is worth seeing or not. It was well filmed, and very ‘real’. It’s not a put up job, not phoney and presumably keenly felt. But it was still a little beyond my white middle class ken. Here’s some things I remember about the film:
It’s an agonisingly slow coming together of two people at least one of whom is a petrol sniffer from way back, the other (the girl) is very attractive in a slow, passive, resilient, long suffering kind of way. The boy – a 14 year old (she’s 16) gets up every morning and sniffs a good draft of petrol fumes.
As a result he doesn’t speak. He decides he rather likes Delilah and grabs his mattress and heads down towards her house (they live in a remote settlement) with a few cars up on blocks rotting away). He also rather likes playing the guitar of a guy who is in a band and tries to get the guitar to play, but isn’t allowed to. When he does get the guitar he thrashes it and gets de-guitared by other members of the group, and things go back to normal. The next time he isn’t allowed to play the guitar, he goes and gets a large branch of a tree and poleaxes the guy who is playing guitar. This fells him – he doesn’t seem to be dead, but there you go. He picks up the guitar and plays for a while.
A little while later he’s lying in his bed and someone comes in and smashes his head with a branch – perhaps the same one. He heads down to Delilah who stitches him back together. Delilah’s aunty dies. She’s been painting paintings and bringing in some money. Delilah is blamed for neglecting her (which she hasn’t) and the women in the community come and bash her horribly. Samson and Delilah go off (to some town) to nurse their considerable wounds and live under a bridge with a drunk. The drunk didn’t appeal to me – there was something a bit staged about him to me, but who am I to say that this wasn’t realistic?
Anyway life goes on (just) and eventually Samson’s enthusiasm for Delilah is reciprocated (sort of). Samson tries to kiss Delilah who rejects the entreaty (to kiss her on the lips) by stopping Samson and then kissing him back on the head. At the end of the film they are together and seem to like each other – though they don’t speak.
So there you go. Delilah is a very sympathetic character. I liked her and I suppose felt for her but somehow things were so uniformly ghastly that it was difficult to really get into it. It was too like anthropology to me, but you might give it five stars. I’d be interested in what other people thought.