February 24, 2006
A film that garnered a substantial amount of attention at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival as it won the People's Choice Award, Tsotsi is based on a 1980 novel by Athol Fugard. Riding a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, it will see theatrical release in early 2006 and was one of the first acquisitions by the new regime at Miramax.
In South Africa, the word "tsotsi" means roughly the equivalent of "thug", and the lead character has adopted it as his name. A teenager and the leader of a gang of street hoodlums, he spends his time compiling plans for robbery, plunder and murder and hanging out in houses that serve drinks. One day, the group murders a man on the train, which causes one of the more gregarious members, Boston, to break down. Asking Tsotsi to reveal something of his past causes Tsotsi to seethe with rage, and he beats Boston mercilessly and leaves the group behind.
As he is wandering in an angry haze, Tsotsi comes across a young woman who hands him a package. Inside that package is a baby, and although Tsotsi has no idea how to care for a newborn, he throws aside all self-imposed rules and makes an effort. As he does so, the young man begins to remember various elements from a long-forgotten past, and finds himself re-examining his life, his ethics and his very moral fiber. (Kim Hollis/BOP)