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
There is a tendency for South African cinema (such as it is) to want to see itself through the eyes of the world. Hence the many comments such as "this film could be set in LA" (ie: it's almost as good as an American movie) As a result, most cinema from South Africa is often very limited in its artistic ambitions and storytelling usually takes second place to making sure South Africa "looks good" on the screen so that "people overseas" will see "our beautiful country" The Australians used to call this the cultural cringe and it also took them some time to find their voice.
Tstosti is a wonderfully told piece of cinema set in the distinctive word of black Johannesburg criminals (I say black, because there is a very different world for white criminals)It works because underneath all the bells and whistles of great camera angles, phenomenal acting and- yes- its unique setting lies something much, much more important: A strong, strong story. A story about things that every human on earth can identify with (love and death). This is not a film for "people overseas"- it's a film in which South Africans to see and hear themselves as real people and not as feeble caricatures gleaned from countless Hollywood movies.
It might well be the start of a something great.
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