Issue Details: First known date: 2011 2011
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The historical trauma of the Aborigines and white Australian nation-building are not simply contemporaneous - the latter is part of what made the former possible. The subject of black-on-black violence within Aboriginal communities has been a hot issue in Australia for the past few years, more specifically that perpetrated by Indigenous men against Indigenous women and children. The situation of many Aborigines today demonstrates a paradoxical relation between destruction and survival, the incomprehensibility at the heart of traumatic experience. Aboriginal film-maker Warwick Thornton's 2009 movie, "Samson & Delilah", tells the story of two teenagers caught up in this situation. Trauma theory, which focuses on the destructive repetition of violence is used as a tool for the analysis of this film, repetition being a structural principle in the narrative. For example, after repeating the same self-defeating ritual every day, Samson sniffs petrol to escape from the desolation and neglect, in the throes of what appears to be a post-traumatic death drive. Delilah's life is equally repetitive but less desolate until her grandmother's death plunges her into a cycle of violence and horror that also leads to petrol-sniffing and near death. But, in Thornton's fictional world, the women are the Samsons. Delilah defends herself and her intended against both white and black violence and, through 'herstory', the film-maker passes on not only the story of a crisis but that of a survival.' (Author's abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y JASAL Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature; Undead Ghosts : Spectrality and the Transgression of Cultural Norms vol. 11 no. 2 2011 Z1844396 2011 periodical issue 2011
Last amended 24 Feb 2012 15:25:32
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