DIFF: Tsotsi (UK/South Africa)

South Africa's nomination for foreign film for the Academy Awards

DIFF: Tsotsi (UK/South Africa)
In a shantytown on the edges of Johannesburg, South Africa, 19-year-old Tsotsi has repressed any memory of his past. Orphaned at an early age, Tsotsi has lived a life of extreme social and psychological deprivation. A feral young man with scant regard for the feelings of others, he has hardened himself against any feelings of compassion. With no past and no plans for the future, he exists only in an angry present.

One night, during an alcohol-fueled evening at a local bar, a man pressures Tsotsi to reveal something from his past or even his real name--"tsotsi" means "thug" or "gangster" in the street language of the South African ghetto. Tsotsi tells nothing, but the man keeps pushing, prodding and digging until Tsotsi lashes out with his fists and beats the man to a pulp.

Tsotsi turns and flees into the night. When he reaches the more affluent suburbs of the city, he sees an easy opportunity for an impromptu car jacking. As he races away in the silver BMW, he hears something in the back seat--the cry of a 3-month-old baby. Tsotsi loses control of the vehicle and crashes on a deserted road. He staggers from the vehicle and walks away, but returns moments later. Hesitating at first, he gathers up the infant, puts it into a large shopping bag and heads for the shantytown on foot.

Soon realizing that he cannot handle the responsibility, he finds a young woman with a baby of her own and forces her to care for the child. Terrified at first, she gradually takes on the role of mother to the baby and mentor to the young gangster. As their relationship tentatively progresses, Tsotsi is compelled to confront his own violent nature and to reveal his past.

Tsotsi won the People's Choice Award at this year's Toronto Film Festival and is South Africa's nomination for foreign film for the Academy Awards.

DIFF: Tsotsi (UK/South Africa)

$7 ($5 for students)

Sat November 19, 2005, 9:30 only, Muenzinger Auditorium

Great Britain/South Africa, 2005, in Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, 71 minutes, Color



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