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In Johannesburg, a small time criminal, Tsotsi, is a teenager without feelings, hardened by his tough life. After a series of violent gang hits, Tsotsi hijacks a car. However, whilst driving, Tsotsi finds that there is a baby on the back seat. He brings the baby to his house in the slum. The next six days bring about a change in him that couldn't be foreseen. Written by
based on the review by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The most outstanding feature of the past year in South African cinema is indeed Gavin Hood's Tsotsi. An South Africa/Great Britain co-production, Tsotsi, made history at the 2005 Edinburgh Film festival by becoming the first film in more than seven years to win both the Standard Life Audience Award for most popular film, and the Michael Powell Award for Best Film. The film, directed by Gavin Hood, has thus far won Audience Choice awards at five of the six international festivals it has entered.
The latest triumph is the People's Choice Award at the Starz Denver International Film Festival, where Tsotsi was joint winner along with Mrs Henderson Presents.
This follows a win at the St. Louis International Film Festival in Washington. Previous wins were at the Los Angeles AFI Film Festival (joint winner with Canada's C.R.A.Z.Y), Toronto International Film Festival and Edinburgh.
Ironically, Tsotsi did not get the main prize at the Cape Town World Cinema Festival in November 2005 although it clinched the Critics Jury Award for Best South African Film, and lead actor Presley Chweneyagae winning the Best Actor award.
On 15 November Tsotsi was nominated for the European Film Academy Non-European Film 2005 - Prix Screen International.
Based on the only novel written by Athol Fugard, the film brilliantly depicts the story of a young boy orphaned at the age of nine and forced to fight his way to adulthood alone in the townships of Johannesburg. In this harsh world he inhabits, Tsotsi lives forever in the moment. An impromptu car jacking resulting in the accidental kidnapping of an infant, and forces him to confront his own humanity. The film is an emotive and very powerful journey in which the central character learns to confront the demons of his past while also coming to terms with the reality of his own destiny. In the process director Gavin Hood looks at a large part of South African society which has been left on the margin of the new post-apartheid society where class differences, also between blacks, are becoming more of a reality. Tsotsi has been submitted as South Africa's official entry in the foreign film category for the 2006 Academy Awards en let's hope we will finally be able to celebrate in 2006.
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