In five days the first South African democratic elections will take place, after which there will be majority rule under a black government. Tensions are high throughout the land, and no less so in Triomf, the poor white suburb of Johannesburg that was built on the ruins of the black community of Sophiatown.
The Benade family, who’d be considered hillbillies or white trash in the USA (Uncle Treppie fixes fridges, Pop’s a railway pensioner, his wife Mol sells flowers in the street, and their son, Lambert, is a slow-witted youth prone to violent fits) are so worried about the elections that they’re prepared for an escape north ‘when the shit hits the fan!’ Already things are not what they used to be in Triomf with half-caste neighbours having rowdy barbecues, and there’s a black family moving in. While, Sonny, who is an acquaintance of Lambert Benade, is waiting in the street to take back his stolen family land upon which the Benade house now stands! The action of the film revolves around Sonny, as well as around the dynamics within the Benade family. These are highly-strung, often horrendous and consistenly hilarious —triomf-movie.com
For almost four decades Michael has struggled without compromise for a free independent voice within an increasingly homogenized world. His principal theme is the sense of alienation, frustration and anger felt by a social group that has been isolated and suppressed by a bigger and more powerful one. Violence, anger and even madness are the inevitable results.
Born and bred in Africa, the greater part of his work emanates from there, and is appreciated for an authentic insider’s understanding and vision. —michaelraeburn.com