...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

July 19, 2006

Tsotsi - 7

This film won the Oscar for Best Foreign film this year, and for good reason. Had it been American made it may have even beaten out Crash for best picture. This is a very well told story. Set in South Africa, and in language that sounds like a combination of English, Dutch, and a tribal language (That would also be explained by the history of the country), the story is an adaptation of the novel by Athol Fugard by Director Gavin Hood. The film brings the story into contemporary times and shows vividly the inner journey of Tsotsi, the main character (His real name is David, but everyone uses his nickname which means thug). According to the interview with Hood, the book deals a lot with the thoughts and feelings of Tsotsi, so the main challenge of the film is to show this rather than tell it in voice over or with overly simplistic dialogue. The film does a good job of this and shows the transformation of Tsotsi. The plot of the film is that Tsotsi is the head of a gang that robs people for a living. He eventually is wandering alone when he sees a women get out of her car to open the gate to her driveway. He then steals her car and ends up shooting her in the process of getting away. He only later finds out that there is a child in the back seat and his memories of his own youth (and an earlier conversation about decency) lead him to rediscover his own humanity. This film is a story about redemption and the lowering of self that it takes.
The DVD includes an earlier short film by Gavin Hood, as well as deleted scenes and alternate endings, which make the film way to intense- they chose correctly.

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