In the street slang of the South African township of Soweto, “tsotsi” means “thug.” In the inspiring film “Tsotsi,” it's the nom de guerre of the title character, a cold and vicious young gangster who refuses to acknowledge any other name.
“Tsotsi” won Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards earlier this year. It explores some dank and ugly corners of the species, but it's only looking for light — hope is its strongest motivator. At stake is a young man's reclamation of his own humanity.
The film will be shown starting at 7 p.m. Friday, June 16, Saturday, June 17 and Tuesday, June 20 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 18 at Geneva's Smith Opera House.
Directed by Gavin Hood and starring the extraordinary Presley Chweneyagae in the title role, the film was adapted from playwright Athol Fugard's 1980 novel.
To feel the full power of the movie's wrenching story, viewers must not rush to judge or embrace young Tsotsi. He is an enigma whose journey is the story. Trying to define him as either revolting or reformed will only limit the movie-goers' vision.
Filmed in Zulu, Xhosa and Afrikaans with English subtitles, this powerful drama is rated R and has a running time of 94 minutes. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens and will be available at the box office.