Analysis Of Cinematic Techniques In The Film Tsotsi

Tsotsi (2005) was directed by Gavin Hood and has been nominated for many awards. The movie is set in Johannesburg, South Africa in the post-apartheid era. It depicts the life of Tsotsi a young thug who steals and shoots a woman’s car, unintentionally stealing her child. The film explores themes such as decency and redemption. It also features a lot of chance. Hood’s stereotyping views are communicated through various cinematic tools, including camera angles and custom design. This essay will analyze this sequence and its cultural and historical context in order to compare and contrast Hood’s portrayal of the rich and the poor.

The selected sequence begins as Tsotsi walks out with Butcher Boston Aap of Tsotsi’s rundown home. The camera zooms in and shows an extreme long-shot of the slums. After that, the camera cuts to Tsotsi and his friends walking out of a run-down apartment. The long shot of the slums is shown. Tsotsi yells at the man and he just walks away without looking at him. Tsotsi stops and looks around, observing people. Tsotsi notices a black older man buying a tiara and well dressed. Tsotsi followed him and got on the metro with him. Aap approached him without making a fuss as if he’s just standing around. The rest of his group followed after. The group picks his pockets, then drops him in the subway and leaves. The movie then shows them at the stairs throwing up, Boston has been drinking heavily and is unable to control his emotions.

The juxtaposition of high-rises with the Soweto townships reveals the harsh reality in the Golden City. Hood captures the real images of ghettos in an opening shot that is extreme and long. The economic difference between rich and poor is repeated. Tsotsi is introduced with the rest of the gang in the corrugated shack. It is interesting to compare this with the middle-class home that John and Pumla will be living later on. This contrast between reality and stereotypies is what the producer wanted to show. Tsotsi’s role in the story is made clear by the extreme long shots. The viewer’s understanding of his social isolation is a precursor to his desire for change. This is further explained by his flashbacks from his abusive youth. Since flashbacks here are plural, the verb used is wrong. This is a stereotyping that young men from impoverished backgrounds, such as Tsotsi’s, are exposed to AIDS early on. Hood shows how being orphaned can unconsciously lead to a thug’s lifestyle.

The film uses visual elements like content to express itself in a unique way. Hood has made Tsotsi look like a thug by using costume design. Tsotsi is dressed in stereotypical gangster clothes that creates an unsettling expression on the viewers’ faces. This is shown by his brightly colored t-shirt which hints at his criminal activity, of killing innocent victims and displaying his stereotypical personality. Tsotsi has a bad reputation because of his initial actions.

Hood’s use of costumes reveals or conceals the personality of each character, which allows him to capture what he wants his audience to see. Fela is an example of this. Fela is a much older and more respected gangleader. People even refer to Tsotsi, a younger “little gangster”. The purple outfit slang represents his status as an experienced thief. Using his stereotype criminal personality. The viewer can identify the stereotypical character traits by looking at their clothes.

Kwaito is used in a number of songs, which adds to urban cultural characteristics of townships. Kwaito, a local favorite lyricist, is used in ‘Tsotsi. My sequence illustrates the intense and criminal gangster life. Tsotsi in his natural habitat. The dice falling onto the table symbolizes the themes in the movie of luck and chances. Hood foreshadows theft and crime through Kwaito music. The idea of taking risks is also communicated. The beats enhance stereotypical accents of each sense character. The non-dialectic sounds are used to support Tsotsi and his gang, which creates tension, and the viewers associate the stereotypical life of a thug. The phrase The contrast in dialect and non-dialectic word sounds creates the wrong atmospheres of Tsotsi. Hood illustrates to viewers the different emotions that music and sounds can produce in Soweto. Hood has used music to elicit the stereotypes which are apparent in the shantytown atmosphere.

Hood uses a variety of techniques to convey the theme of redemption, decency, and chance. These are all portrayed in the film Tsotsi. Holl conveys the outside perspective of Johannesburg’s people and poverty, and how it contrasts with wealth. It is emotional to show the South African landscapes in a realistic way. The viewers are taken on a journey through redemption and self decency by using these techniques.


  • kaydenmarsh

    I am Kayden Marsh, 34yo educational blogger and school teacher. I am a mother of two young children, and I love spending time with them and learning new things. I also enjoy writing about education and children's issues, and I hope to continue doing so for the rest of my life.

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