Video interview

Not in Kansas anymore:
Warwick Thornton on ‘Samson & Delilah’

Samson & Delilah
Warwick Thornton; Australia 2009; Trinity Films /
Region 2 DVD / Region free (Blu-ray);
Certificate 15; 101 minutes; Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

‘Samson & Delilah’ is a love story set against the harsh realities of Aboriginal life in central Australia – first in a hopeless outback reservation, then on the run in the big, hostile city (Alice Springs).

Its teenage protagonists barely speak; they’re beaten, abducted and lose themselves in petrol-sniffing, yet the film has an eloquence and gritted hopefulness born of its ability to express the characters’ dreams and determination, even when they struggle to.

“Passionately affecting, it’s also so much richer than any attempt to describe it,” wrote Trevor Johnston in our February issue. The film won Cannes’ 2009 Camera d’Or and seven Australian Film Institute awards.

In this video interview Warwick Thornton, the film’s writer-director-photographer-composer, tells Sophie Mayer about his drive to make the film, his search for subtle narrative props and his use of cinematic space, light and music to open the film up for its audience – as illustrated by the opening scenes. Ana Gabriel’s romantic songs provide Delilah’s spark of interest in Samson, a “pure emotion of love”; Rowan McNamara, as Samson, provides the “sexy dance”.

‘Samson & Delilah’ is out now on DVD and Blu-ray

See the April 2010 issue of Sight & Sound for both Sophie Mayer’s print interview with Warwick Thornton and Trevor Johnston’s review of the film.

See also

Easy raider: Tim Lucas on Dennis Hopper’s turn as an Irish bushranger in 19th-century Australia in Mad Dog Morgan (April 2010)

Romantic setting: Jane Campion talks to Nick James about Keats and Bright Star (December 2009)

Ballad of the wild boys: Nick Roddick on The Proposition (March 2006)

Bouquet of barbed wire: Adrian Martin on Rabbit-Proof Fence (November 2002)

But I’m beautiful: Andy Medhurst on Muriel’s Wedding (July 2002)

Soul survivor: Kate Pullinger on Jane Campion and Holy Smoke (October 1999)

Last Updated: 15 Nov 2010