Monday, April 24, 2006

Tsotsi : 's good, 's good!

(My previous post about Tsotsi is here)

{A} and I finally got to see Tsotsi on Friday evening. The movie was great - I'd give it a 80% fresh rating on the All-Gold Tomatiesous Meter! I heartily recommend it and am very proud in a vicarious way. The picture it paints of life in gangsterism in South Africa is not flattering, but it shows a realistic slice of life for much of population.

There's some great language to tease your ears with (a little Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Tsotsitaal, and maybe Sotho or Tsonga). It seemed to me that the writer/director deliberately tried to mix in as many Southern African languages as possible - and at times this seemed a little contrived.

The acting is pretty uniformly great. Presley Chweneyagae is amazing as the title character, and the other three actors playing his fellow gang members flesh out their roles nicely, so that you get a real feel for them each as individuals. The only weak links in the acting for me were the police

The kwaito soundtrack is very good and mostly performed by Zola who also plays a role in the film. (Some of the songs are harsh and challenging to listen to - not that I claim to understand most of the lyrics - but they add greatly to the mood.) The schmaltzier music at times became intrusive, especially towards the end of the film, but that's a small quibble.

I'd be very interested to know how well this film does within South Africa - I hope it connects with audiences there in a big way, although the melting-pot of languages used may mean that only literate audiences that can read subtitles will be able to appreciate it.

It was interesting to see that all of the victims of the gang's crime in the movie are black. I liked that the stereotypical view of crime in SA being perpetrated against white people was challenged. The film showed that there is a class of wealtyh black people in the country, and also highlighted that the target of petty crime is more often the people living and working in the townships. Still, avoiding having a white family targeted seemed a little contrived. (Would the movie have provoked a backlash of protest, or come across as racist if it had included crime targeted at a white family?)

On a side note, this was our first foray to the schwanky new cinemas at Lincoln Square, and I must say I like them. They serve Tully's coffee and good ice-cream, have cushy leather* seats that recline and have folding armrests. Sadly, the theatre was almost empty, but that meant we could pick great seats and enjoy the film without obnoxious neighbours.


* Prolly not real leather, but nice anyway.

1 comment:

Joy to the World said...

This movie was VG, but there were several times when I scrunched my eyes closed because I'm a wuss when it comes to "gritty" stuff.