Shades of Indigenous Belonging in Samson & Delilah

Huijser, Henk and Collins-Gearing , Brooke (2014) Shades of Indigenous Belonging in Samson & Delilah. New Scholar: An International Journal of the Humanities, Creative Arts and Social Sciences, 3 (1). pp. 69-83. ISSN 1839-5333

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This paper explores different levels and shades of Indigenous belonging through an analysis of Warwick Thornton's film Samson & Delilah. The film is a contemporary story that does not displace its Indigenous characters by assigning them, and their connection to country, to history, but rather by situating its characters (and their struggles) very firmly in the context of country and in the context of contemporary struggles, thereby ironically creating a sense of untimeliness. This does not mean, as we argue in this paper, that the film is out of step with history, but rather that it is out of step with Australian film history, in which there has been a tendency to position Indigenous Australians in one of two main paradigms: either as 'noble savages' living in harmony with and on the land, or as lost and hopeless city dwellers, divorced from 'their culture.'
This paper explores the untimeliness of the way in which Samson & Delilah constructs a sense of belonging, and argues that its critical and commercial success can largely be attributed to precisely that untimeliness, which not only creates the film's sense of realness, despite being very carefully crafted and structured, but also makes the film very timely indeed.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Indigenous Belonging, Samson & Delilah, Indigenous Cinema
Field of Research (2008): 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1999 Other Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 199999 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Research Collaboration Area: Creative Arts
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Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2014 04:57
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2017 23:51

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