Tuesday, March 14, 2006

how tsotsi was born

Opening to page 21 of last Saturday's UK Guardian was quite a treat. The paper published author Athol Fugard's original notes that led to the writing of the book that now gets the big film treatment in Tsotsi. And it was timely too, coming right after Tsotsi won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film at the 78th Academy Awards barely a week before.

To see the birth of a character, a novelistic and cinematic character, to see the birth of a story, someone else's story, a great author's one for that matter, there's something beautiful about it.

Here's an excerpt:

"The idea for a story - criminal: completely shrouded in darkness. At a moment - a stab of light and pain. This followed, developed, in the span of a short time leads to the full Christian experience after a meeting with a priest in an empty church....

Story (contd) - The kid is leader of a gang. Four members including him. The "change" as a positive force, outside of himself. Resisted...

The baby in the shoebox: it was small, and black, and older than anything he had ever seen in his life. Its face, lined and wrinkled. Left by a young girl, in a shoebox in the ruined house where he had crawled, wounded....

Looking for milk for the baby: "Mama, have you any milk?" Takes her back and forces her to feed the child."

Intrigued? Read it in full here.


Blogger Styl Council said...

MW..I had been looking forward to seeing this film, which i hear comes out this week. So i hope we can see and enjoy it together sometime soon!....Yes this sounds like a very moving film.I've read a couple of reviews about it and it sounds like an absolutely soul-searching, inteteresting, compelling and facinating film. I have been teased by snippets on the jonathan ross film review, so i can't wait to see the full version.

11:00 am, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Nkem said...

Saw it as well in the Guardian, was such a treat. I'm also looking forward to seeing it.

4:32 pm, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

I was expecting Paradise Now to win. It was filmed with an Israeli, Palestinian and western cast and crew. I guess everyone hated them in that case. It followed the last 24 hours, in the life of a suicide bomber.

I'm sure the winner was a masterpiece, by your description.

There is only potential, in African cinema.

4:42 pm, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous mw said...


Indeed there is potential in African Cinema. But like you, I fancied Paradise Now to be a strong contender, to be honest. I have heard such wonderful things about the film, though I haven't seen it. I guess as you say, everybody hated them, such is the power of hatred. When Will Smith was announcing the nominated films in this category and he said: 'from the Palestinian Territories', I was so upset that the Academy didn't have the guts/nerve to say 'Palestine' (there! what a beautiful name!). Honest, I was upset. It was only the realisation that Tsotsi had won that made up for my bad feeling about that moment.

I will post my article about the Oscars here shortly (http://odili.net/news/source/2006/mar/12/15.html) [If you follow the link, watch out for the pop-ups & I apologise for the typos; I wrote it in a made hurry.

Thanks for dropping by

5:59 pm, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a beautiful, multi-layered film. I love the portrayal of the complexity of masculinity in a post-apatheid south Africa. Also, the relationship between violence, eros and redemption is stunning and subtle. I strongly recommend it.


12:00 pm, March 16, 2006  
Blogger Steve Middleton said...

I loved this film - my favourite of the year so far

10:11 pm, March 19, 2006  
Blogger RC said...

Thanks for sharing! I did not know anything about that article.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

11:04 pm, March 21, 2006  

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