aboriginal australia in germany via film


Oliver Haag, ‘Racializing the social problem: reception of Samson and Delilah in Germany’, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies (published online 8 August 2014).

This article examines elements of German reception of the Aboriginal Australian film Samson and Delilah (2009). There is a discrepancy between the film’s recognition at the Cannes Film Festival and its less enthusiastic audience reception. On the basis of qualitative interviews with German viewers, this article traces some of the patterns of reception and shows that audiences did not recognize the cultural codes of Aboriginal sovereignty and agency contained in this film. Instead, Samson and Delilah has largely been interpreted through dominant German cultural frameworks on race and racism. The film’s reception has thereby resulted in the opposite effect of a racialized construction of social problems conferred upon Aboriginal Australians. The main reason for different comprehension of the film’s cultural codes, as this study argues, lies in the lacking rendition of culturally unfamiliar codes.


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