Sunday, January 13, 2008
If you did not get to see Tsotsi in a film festival or when it had a theatrical release then I highly recommend that you rent the dvd and see this film. db and I had the opportunity to see it for one of the port whoody monthly screenings.
Tsotsi (meaning Thug) is an orphaned boy who has done what he needs to in order to survive. He and his gang live outside of Johannesburg in a slum. When Tsotsi is forced to question how he feels, for the first time in a long time, it leads him down a road where he begins to question all of his actions. With the character, we re-live a defining moment in Tsotsi's life. His decision to let himself remember this turning point in his childhood that gives him the ability to start to question his choices between good acts and bad acts in his present day life.
There are no wasted moments in this film. Every moment in every scene is relevant and moves the story forward. Exposition is minimal and revealed as it is integrated into the narrative. Even the backstory works as a memory. Flashbacks often concern me, but this flashback is integral to the main plot.
Presley Chweneyagae is fabulous as Tsotsi. He conveys so much with the tiniest of movements in his face. This is important since the camera does often have him in a close-up where we see him facing us. It is sometimes hard to imagine that we are ever going to sympathize with this character, but that is part of its brilliance in its storytelling.