I treated myself to an afternoon movie yesterday at the foreign film house in Phoenix. (Yes, in a city of 3 million, we have just one theater that regularly shows foreign and independent films. Ay.)
I’d been wanting to see Tsosti for some time and was thrilled when it won the best foreign film Oscar this year. You may remember the director accepting the Oscar with a speech in several African languages, peppered with English. All things African intrigue me.
Tsotsi is the story of a young man growing up in what the viewer can only guess is Soweto. The million-plus township sits on the edge of Johannesburg. The cinematography captures the plight of the poor in these communities and their struggle with education, violence, and their roles in society. Tsotsi’s story is contrasted by that of a young baby from an affluent Black family who Tsotsi inadvertently kidnaps. I’m not giving anything away– this happens in the previews and the first five minutes of the film. Tsotsi — Swahili (I think?) for Thug — initially decides to keep the baby and raise him in his tiny metal shack in the township. Through the story, you learn more about a South Afrikaner‚Äôs perspective in surviving a parent who’s died of AIDS, in addition to a slew of other emotional twists that left me hurting for more. I fell in love in particular with the female lead who was so beautiful, caring and nurturing. I wanted to sit on her couch and have a cup of tea with her, learn more about her character, become her friend.
The movie is heartbreaking and excellent.
Five out of five bananas. Absoloodle.