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"Samson & Delilah" Named Australian Film of the Year by the Catholic Film Office for 2009
Melbourne, June 11, 2010 (ACOFB) - In what the jury considered to be the strongest field of outstanding Australian films in a long time, the Australian Catholic Film Office has awarded its 2009 Film of the Year to Warwick Thornton and Kath Shelper’s Samson & Delilah.
"The jury deliberated over Balibo , Beautiful Kate , Blessed , Mao’s Last Dancer , Mary and Max , Samson & Delilah and The Boys Are Back , before deciding on this universally acclaimed drama," jury chair Fr Richard Leonard SJ said.
Samson & Delilah is about young love in a remote indigenous community which survives a move away from country, drug addiction, homelessness and desperate poverty. "Delilah’s fidelity to Samson is the moral core of this magnificent film," Fr Leonard observed.
Untrained and, until now, unknown actors, Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson, give performances that would be worthy of veterans as they chart the descent and rise of this symbolic couple.
"The inversion of the biblical story was not lost on the jury either, where the name Delilah means Night, while Samson means the Sun."
In Judges 16 the flawed Samson falls in love with the scheming Delilah who uses her relationship with Samson to neuter his power and allow the Philistine enemy to destroy the giant. It all ends in death and destruction. After her treachery, we never hear about Delilah again.
In Warwick Thornton’s hands, a flawed Samson falls in love with Delilah alright, but after she cuts her hair in a grieving ritual for her grandmother, her power and strength increases as she saves Samson from his spiral towards death and destruction. Her presence in Samson’s life is redemptive.
This film also points to the struggles and the signs of hope within Australian indigenous communities today.
"For all these reasons Samson & Delilah was a clear winner. However, given the strength of the field the Jury also commended Mao’s Last Dancer , the moving biopic about Li Cunxin, and The Boys Are Back , Scott Hicks’ powerful father and son drama," Fr Leonard concluded.