Stephen Bess said, "This is Boyz -n- The Hood and Dead Presidents South African style. A great film!"
I had the pleasure last night of attending a private screening of the South African film, Tsotsi. The film has gained instantly popularity after winning (to name a few) the Thessaloniki Film Festival 2005, Toronto Film Festival 2005, Edinburgh film festival 2005 and recently stole the heart of the American Academy for best foreign film of 2005. The film stars actor, Presley Chweneyagae who portrayed (Tsotsi, meaning Thug) the painfully familiar displaced, disenfranchised, angry, lost thug trying to survive in the shantytowns of a new, but still overwhelmingly poor South Africa. The film didn’t dwell on the important past/present issues of South Africa such as Apartheid and discrimination, but the affects of that system were plain to see in the images presented in the townships. There were also rarely seen images of Johannesburg that skyline could rival any other skyline in the Western world. Although there were some moments of humor in Tsotsi, it is current day South Africa in all of its urban beauty and ugliness.
The film takes a dramatic turn when Tsotsi car jacks a woman just to find that there is a baby in the car. He is forced to care for the child rather than abandon him. The child forces him to deal with the demons of his own childhood and eventually compels him to examine his own humanity. This is when the healing begins. The film also co-stars Mothusi Magano (Boston) who urges his comrades to examine their own “decency” and Terry Pheto who plays Miriam, the beauty that helps calm Tsotsi beast within. This is an excellent film and a must see for all. There are about five different languages spoken in this subtitled film including Zulu, Sesotho, and SA Slang, but it doesn’t take away from an absolutely riveting performance from an outstanding cast and crew. The film will hit selected locations in the United States on Friday, March 10th. Go see this film!