Archive of films Samson and Delilah / Samson and Delilah

2009, 101 min

Section: Open Eyes
Year: 2009

This beautiful non-traditional love story about teenagers Samson and Delilah speaks of the modern lives of Australia’s original inhabitants. It shows us a small community of Aborigines in the middle of the desert where time has stood still, but also depicts harsh life in the city, where the main protagonists end up. This film by highly talented debut director Warwick Thornton won the Golden Camera Award in Cannes for best first feature.


Samson and Delilah live in Australia in a community of Aborigines in the middle of the desert, where each day is like the one before. Everything remains unchanged, and it seems that no-one is bothered by this. Samson is fifteen, he likes hunting, sniffing glue and petrol, and he also loves music. Kind-hearted Delilah lives with her grandmother who passes away one day. Her family thinks it’s Delilah’s fault and they punish the girl. Then she meets Samson and they fall in love. Their feelings are unspoken, since words are not the chief means of communication for Aborigines. Samson and Delilah set out for town but, because they have no money, they begin stealing and Delilah gradually becomes another person. The youngsters discover that life outside their community can be very cruel. With its spellbinding camerawork and compelling soundtrack, the film boasts excellent performances from non-professional actors Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson. Director Warwick Thornton, who himself has Aboriginal roots, for this wonderful non-traditional love story took away the prestigious Cannes Camera d’Or Award, presented to the best first feature, irrespective of section.

About the director

Warwick Thornton (b. 1970, Alice Springs, Australia) studied film photography at AFTRS in Sydney and gave his debut as a director in 1996 with the film Payback, which was screened at the festival in Telluride. This was followed by the short comedy Mimi (2002) and the half-hour drama Green Bush (2005), which premiered at Sundance and received awards at a number of festivals, including the Berlinale, where it won Best Short Film in the Panorama section. Berlin awarded another of his shorts, Nana (2007), which also garnered Thornton the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Melbourne film festival. He has also made several documentaries for CAAMA Productions, ABC and SBS. He lives in Alice Springs and is currently putting together a documentary series about Australian Aboriginal art. His successful feature debut Samson and Delilah, after winning the Audience Prize at the festival in Adelaide, also took away the Camera d’Or from Cannes this year.


Elle Driver
66, rue de Miromesnil, 750 08, Paris
Tel: +33 156 434 870
Fax: +33 145 614 608

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Open Eyes
Director: Warwick Thornton
Screenplay: Warwick Thornton
Dir. of Photography: Warwick Thornton
Editor: Roland Gallois
Producer: Kath Shelper
Production: Scarlett Pictures, CAAMA Productions
Cast: Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson, Mitjili Gibson, Scott Thornton
Contact: Elle Driver

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