Depiction of the South Africa Setting in Tsotsi

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I have selected a sequence from Tsotsi (2005) by Gavin Hood. The South-African movie that has won numerous awards is just one of many from Hood, others are X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and Ender’s Game (2013). Set in Johannesburg in post-apartheid South Africa, the movie illustrates the dramatic life of a young thug named Tsotsi, who shoots and steals a car from a middle-classed African woman, thus unintentionally kidnapping her baby. The themes of decency, redemption, and chance are extensively explored within the film, absorbing the viewer’s attention. That is achieved by cinematic techniques, including camera angles, custom design, and music that communicate Hood’s views of stereotyping. In this passage, I will analyze the sequence for its historical and cultural context to compare and contrast how the film portrays the wealthy and impoverished.

My sequence starts with Tsotsi and fellow friends, Butcher, Boston, and Aap all walking out of Tsotsi’s run-down apartment with the camera zooming out and showing us an extreme long shot of the slums. Then it cuts to all three are walking down the road as they cross paths with an individual who seems to be doing good for himself sitting on top of his Luxury car with a lot of people surrounding him. The man yells something at Tsotsi and Tsotsi just flicks him off and keep walking without even turning around to look at him.

The film then makes another cut to Tsotsi and friends getting off a subway train and walking up the stairs and crossing a homeless man who’s in a wheelchair, as they keep walking the camera zoom out showing us a billboard with the slogan “We’re all affected by AIDS” Tsotsi and his friends suddenly stop walking in the middle of the station and look around observing various people until Tsotsi looks at an older black man who’s buying a tie and is well dressed. Tsotsi and his friends follow him and eventually get on the subway with him, Aap is the first to approach him making nothing off it as if he were just standing there then the rest of the group follow after they all surround him they turn to him telling him to keep quiet, the man seems confused and starts panicking but before he can make any noise Butcher stabs him with a pick not a knife necessarily. The group then hold him as they pick his pockets and as the subway train empties they drop the man and evade the area and they were left with an image of the man just laying in the train by himself lifeless. The movie then proceeds to cut to them standing around at s set of stairs with Boston throwing up after killing the old man, afterward they cut to them at a bar drinking and Boston has gotten drunk and can’t hold his emotions back talks about how they were wrong and Tsotsi needs to learn about decency.

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The viewers are instantly intrigued by the contrast between the upper-class high-rise buildings and the Soweto townships, communicating the reality of life in the ‘Golden City’. This is conveyed in the opening scene by an extreme long shot, that Hood captures the realistic images of the ghetto slums, portraying the economic difference between the wealthy and the poor repetition. This is also portrayed when Tsotsi and the other gang members are introduced within the corrugated-iron shack, which is intriguingly contrasted to John’s and Pumla’s middle-class family home later in the film. Therefore, the producer has shown the real contrasts between the realistic stereotypies where many like Tsotsi are forced to live. By the use of extreme long shots, we begin to understand Tsotsi’s position in the text, as he is set aside from the other gang members. Making the viewer understand his sociological isolation from other beings foreshadows his growth for change. Also explained by the use of flashbacks to his abusive childhood that exposes flashbacks is plural so verb here is wrong his relations to AIDS, as the slogan “we are all affected by AIDS” next the billboard becomes clear. This is stereotyping of young men who are impoverished like Tsotsi, being exposed or affected by AIDS or HIV at a young age. By the use of camera shots, Hood captures the realistic aspects of being orphaned and unconsciously transported into a thug lifestyle, conveying to the viewer the distinguished differences of being raised in the slums compared to being raised in a middle-class home.

In the opening sequence, there is a symbolic sense, where the camera shows an extreme long shot of the train station and other shots used throughout the sequence to establish a sort of the use of visual elements such as content to create the distinguished settings of expression in the film. Hood has emphasized the thug characteristics of Tsotsi through the use of costume design. Dressed in dark stereotypical gangster clothing that produces the uncertainty of Tsotsi to the viewer’s expression. This is evident by the choice of his bright red t-shirt, that foreshadows his criminal activates spellings, of killing innocent people and thus wearing his personality of a stereotypical thug. The viewer’s judgment of Tsotsi isn’t the most empathetic due to his actions in the beginning.

The use of costume reveals and conceals each character’s personality, thereby capturing what Hood wants the viewer to see. This is seen in Fela, an older and much more respectable gang leader so much that people talk down Tsotsi as a young “little gangster”. He is represented by a purple getup slang that represents his status as a professional thief. Revealing his stereotypical criminal personality. By the use of costume design, the viewer can see the stereotypes in each character by their clothing, that establishes the ideas of what custom design can portray to the viewer expression.

The manipulation of music in ‘Tsotsi’ is evident by the use of Kwaito beats, adding to the urban cultural features of the townships. Kwaito is a locally favored lyricist. This illustrates the criminal and intense gangster lifestyle in my sequence. Portraying Tsotsi 's nature in the setting. The dice rolling down onto the table signifies the themes of chance and luck in the film. Moreover, by the use of Kwaito beats, Hood foreshadows the themes of crime and theft. This also communicates the ideas of taking a chance. The beats also state the South African surroundings that enhance the stereotypical accent movements of each sense of character. Including, Tsotsi’s gang who are instantly supported by the none-dialectic sound, creating tension and onto the viewers that affiliate the stereotypical thug life. The phrase The contrast between dialect issue of the word and the non-dialect issue of word sound creates the atmospherical incorrect settings in Tsotsi. By the use of sound and music Hood has formed the characteristics in the Soweto townships that are achieved by music and sound, illustrates and produces a variety of emotions to the viewers. By the use of music, Hood has emitted the stereotypes that are evident within the shantytown’s atmospheric setting.

Through the use of cinematic techniques, including camera angles, costume design, and music. Hood has successfully explored the themes of redemption, chance, and decency through the stereotypical ideas that are illustrated within the settings of ‘Tsotsi’. That communicating Holl’s exterior perspective of Johannesburg and its people, between that contrast of poverty and wealth. Illustrating the realistic settings of South Africa thus connects emotionally with the viewer. Through the use of these techniques and explorative themes, the viewers are transported through the journey of one’s redemptions and self decency, which produces strong emotions onto the viewers, creating empathy towards a stereotypical young thug.

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