June 2, 2006
Go see Tsotsi
This is a very belated recommendation to go and see the South African film Tsotsi. I saw it weeks ago in a typically exclusive screening at The Sheraton.
I was reminded about how great a film it is by an article someone sent me yesterday from The Times of Swaziland written by the outgoing head of UNICEF there Dr Alan Brody. (The article has since disappeared from the site but here is Google's cached version - I have no idea how long this link will last.) Not surprisingly, Dr Brody sees the film from the perspective of someone who has spent a life in development.
‘Tsotsi' is coming to Swaziland. I have seen it, and the film says so much to us here. The character Tsotsi is a short youth, really only just emerged from childhood. His face is a mask drained of the emotions that make us human, but just under that surface there is one abiding emotion, an anger whose depth can hardly be fathomed, until we see it explode into violence, except in the murder of an innocent man on a train, and in the vicious beating of one of his own gang members and closest friends, who dares to push him too far with questions.
The boy who became ‘Tsotsi' was what in Swaziland we call an ‘OVC' [Orphan or Vulnerable Child], but five or 10 years down the road from today. When his mother was dying of AIDS, he, a mere child, suffering the mixture of love and trauma of a 10 year old's soul, his drunken, violent father wouldn't even allow him to be with her, to comfort her. The boy ran away from ‘home' that night, became a child of the streets, sheltering from rain in the large sewer pipes of a half-finished project of abandoned development. The streets, and an uncaring world, tutored him to become the Tsotsi that, as a young adult, terrorised and murdered hard-working laborers and privileged ‘black empowerment elites' alike.
For me, the film's ending, built around redemption and a hint of forgiveness, is the most moving thing I have seen since the closing scene of Priest.
Posted by aheavens at June 2, 2006 4:02 AM