Film & TV

Apr 27, 2009

Samson and Delilah under the stars in Alice Springs

The Telegraph Station was an appropriate setting for a film that expresses so much about the communication gap at the heart of this country, writes Elli Rennie.

The Alice Springs screening of Warwick Thornton’s Samson and Delilah took place under the stars at the Telegraph Station, curtained only by the Todd River embankment. I was amongst the 4000 people who went to see the film that night (April 17), many of them travelling from remote communities. We formed a jumbling, cramped silhouette, lying across each others’ swags and blankets by necessity. A group of little kids, tchi-tchi, sat up the front, their necks craned backwards and glued to the screen. From out of this mass of people there were two audible audiences, laughing at different moments, yet all in it together. It was an appropriate setting for an extraordinary film – a film that expresses so much about the communication gap at the heart of this country.

Reviews of Samson and Delilah are appearing thick and fast. The public debate has so far centred on the negative portrayal of race relations and life in remote Indigenous communities. Thornton’s film has achieved an important feat — and that’s aside from its impressive aesthetic and narrative elements. However, there is another, more positive, aspect to this film that deserves some attention: communication and media in Indigenous communities.

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