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Palmerston North Film Society: Tsotsi

When:

Wed 13 Apr 2011, 5:30pm
Wed 13 Apr 2011, 8:00pm

Where: Downtown Cinemas, 70 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Waged membership: $85.00
  • Unwaged membership: $70.00
  • Triple feature card: $30.00
  • High school student: $30.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Related Artists:

Listed by: Ross Stevenson

Tsotsi
Directed by Gavin Hood
South Africa/UK, 2005, 96 mins, M violence, offensive language

Tsotsi is based on the novel by renowned South African playwright Athol Fugard, tracing six days in the violent life of a young thug in the Johannesburg ghettos.

One evening, after a bloody bar fight, Tsotsi (Presley Chweneyagae) carjacks a woman in a BMW. He hears a noise from the backseat causing him to careen off the side of the road. He turns to find a baby, and abandons the vehicle and its cargo. For some reason, he stops and is compelled to go back and take the baby home with him. With no skills to take care of the child, Tsotsi forces a young mother (Terry Pheto) at gunpoint into caring for ‘his’ baby.

Tsotsi's friends are young, hardened criminals like himself, but each has a distinctive personality. One of Tsotsi's friends, Boston, is very bright and well educated, almost becoming a teacher; another, Aap, is sweet and relatively gentle; the third, Butcher, is ruthless and cruel. The four men have been buddies for most of their lives, and they are just now starting to find themselves and go in different directions.

Taken literally, Tsotsi is probably too exaggerated to represent reality but on a metaphoric level the movie works its magic better. The baby comes to symbolize the young crook, everything he could have been but wasn't. He wants to care for and nurture it the way nobody ever cared for or loved him. He wants to become the child's mother and father and wants the child to be himself at the same time. He sees it as a way to reclaim some of the humanity he lost growing up hard and mean.

One of the most striking things about the film is Hood's use of colour in his cinematography; the heavy, sepia-toned atmosphere of the township conveys its inhabitants' oppressive, dusty existence in a glance. And the film's pulsing soundtrack (all local music) brings the movie's world to vibrant, primal life.

“As Tsotsi, Chweneyagae captures beautifully this brutal battle with his own nature and the luminescent Pheto forces him to re-examine his very core. Director Gavin Hood is firmly at the helm of this relentlessly exacting film that unfolds with sharp insight and dramatic flair. South Africa’s Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Director Hood is definitely someone to watch.” Shaz Bennett, AFI Film Festival

Did you know?
In urban slang of Johannesburg tsotsi loosely translated means thug.

Members only. Palmerston North Film Society Membership is available at the door before each screening and lasts for one full year.

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