Friday, June 18, 2004

Saturday night at the palace

Two working class whites arrive at an isolated roadhouse on a motorbike and proceed to take out their racial frustrations on the black waiter.

Paul Slabolepsky, who wrote the play upon which the film is based, plays a violent, unemployed racist psychopath with a big mouth and director Davies, although limited to the single location of the drive-in diner, creates a cinematically complex work which operates as a gripping thriller while at the same time analyzing white working-class fears and prejudices.

The film deals with an evening in the lives of three South Africans, two white and one black. The black man, September (John Kani), works at a roadhouse at which all three characters are destined to meet later that night.

It is September's last night on duty at the roadhouse before he leaves to visit his family who he has not seen for two years. His wife and children live far away in a black homeland and are not permitted by law to live with him in the city.

We first meet one of the white characters, Vince (Paul Slabolepszy), at a soccer stadium where he has just been dropped from the team. Through his friend Forsie (Bill Flynn) we learn that Vince has been kicked out of the house they share together. Forsi has been saddled with the responsibility of breaking this news to Vince by Dougie (Arnold Vosloo) who is in charge of the house.

Vince and Forsie meet downtown on the way to the party. Too scared to tell Vince he no longer has a room at the house, Forsie tries unsuccessfully to get Vince to call Dougie from the party. Vince catches Forsie trying to leave the party without him. Forsie is desperate as he now has no alternative but to return home with Vince.

As a last attempt Forsie stops at the roadhouse hoping to find a callbox. It is at the roadhouse that the main action of the film takes place.

Vince and Forsie arrive as September is closing the roadhouse for the night. Finding the callbox out of order Forsie must finally confront Vince with the news himself.

Tensions build and September finds himself the scapegoat for Vince's frustrations and racial prejudice. Vince also lets loose inside the roadhouse kitchen destroying everything he can lay his hands on. September is responsible for the roadhouse, but his position is made more untenable because of working and living in a white area without a pass.

Vince's revelation that he had 'had' Forsie's dream girl, Sally (Joanna Weinberg), earlier that night at the party precipitates unforseen consequences for all three.

At the end of the film Forsie is faced with a choice which is in small the dilemma of the white South African today.

South Africa/1987/89 mins/15. Dir: Robert Davies.

Starring Bill Flynn, John Kani, Paul Slabolepszy, Joanna Weinberg, Arnold Vosloo

Director(s) Robert Davies

Screenwriter(s) Paul Slabolepszy, Bill Flynn

Production Company Davnic


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4:09 PM  

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