Tsotsi (2005). Academy Award Winner - Best Foreign Language Film. Starring: Presley Chweneyagae, Terry Pheto. Director: Gavin Hood Rating (R). 94 mins. Now available on DVD.
Set amidst the sprawling Johannesburg township of Soweto - where survival is the primary objective - TSOTSI traces six days in the life of a ruthless young gang leader who ends up caring for a baby accidentally kidnapped during a car-jacking.
TSOTSI is a gritty and moving portrait of an angry young man living in a state of extreme urban deprivation. His world pumps with the raw energy of "Kwaito music" - the modern beat of the ghetto that reflects his troubled state of mind.
The film is a psychological thriller in which the protagonist is compelled to confront his own brutal nature and face the consequences of his actions. It puts a human face on both the victims and the perpetrators of violent crime and is ultimately a story of hope and a triumph of love over rage.
"Tsotsi" literally means "thug" or "gangster" in the street language of South Africa's townships and ghettos. "Kwaito" is South Africa's answer to American Hip Hop.
Culled from the Official Tsotsi film site.
The DVD at a Glance
"The one aspect that deserves unequivocal praise is Lance Brewer's stunning cinematography which captures the burnished landscape of the shantytowns in vibrant detail. There are several extras with the 2006 DVD that are worth checking out, beginning with Hood's informative commentary and an intriguing 1998 short he made called "The Storekeeper". There are several deleted scenes included, but the most interesting are two variations on the final minutes of the film (Hood chose correctly in my opinion). A lively music video of the movie's propulsive opening song, "Mdlwembe" by Zola, is also included. It's necessary to use the English subtitle option since the characters are speaking a local dialect called Tsotsi-Taal." Ed Uyeshima
Tsotsi can be purchased at major retail outlets in the US (Bestbuy, Walmart, etc.) and online (amazon.com, etc.).
Tsotsi Soundtrack (A Review by Ghettoruff)
A good soundtrack is a balancing act, supporting or even propelling the film while standing alone as musical entertainment. The key ingredient to the soundtrack of the recent Academy Award-winning foreign film Tsotsi is the nine songs by South African Kwaito superstar Zola.
Kwaito is South Africas answer to hip-hop, and Zola is its Kanye West. Pulling songs from his multiple releases as the cornerstone of the soundtrack was shrewd. Zolas vocals and music have a cocky arrogance and swagger that translate even if one cant understand the lyrics.
The Tsotsi soundtrack is available in major retail outlets and online.