Wednesday, March 21, 2007
No Gangsta rap this
We watched Tsotsi, the Oscar winning story of a South African teenaged gangster who is transformed by his love for a kidnapped infant. The film charts a few days in the life of Tsotsi (an assumed gangster name) — from his mindless acts of violence to the one act of rather innocent crime which is about to change his life. Presley Chweneyagae stars in the lead role, and carries himself well for a first timer. There is a penetrating look in his eyes, which lends menace to his method, and contributes greatly towards developing his character.
I am not much into gangster movies, so when I found out that Tsotsi was one, I was disappointed. But it’s nothing of the sort. A day after kidnapping a tiny infant mistakenly while driving away a stolen car, Tsotsi must find a way to take care of the baby. In one endearing scene, he is shown leaving the baby after keeping a can of condensed milk next to it. When he returns in the evening, the can and the baby’s face are swarmed with black ants. Tsotsi’s guilt and anguish come alive on the screen. He then decides to break into Miriam’s house. She is the other central character in the story, a single mother bringing up her child in one of the shacks. Tsotsi demands a terrified Miriam to feed the little one. This scene is a show-stealer. Holding Tsotsi with her hard gaze, the woman gently offers her milk to the baby. The contrast in her body language— to the two disparate figures —is performed exceedingly naturally by Terry Pheto. The photograph given here, with Nelson Mandela, cannot capture how wonderfully native she looks in the movie.
Some of the movies coming up for nomination at the Oscars are nothing short of masterpieces. Movies from across the world jostle it out among themselves and truly, the world’s best cinematic interpretations make it to the best five. Tsotsi is a memorable addition to this list.