Archive of films Tsotsi / Tsotsi

United Kingdom / South Africa
2005, 94 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2006

The story of a brutal and socially deprived gangster, Tsotsi who, after a robbery, finds something in a stolen car, or rather someone, who will unwittingly show him the way out of the hell he has been living so far.


The shanty towns of Johannesburg have some of the highest crime rates in the world. Murders and robberies are daily occurrences. The people whose world this is follow the inexorable and cruel law of survival. Tsotsi is an almost feral, brutal gangster with no trace of compassion for any other human being, an orphan who has grown up without any social or emotional support. He represses the past, and lives only in the comfortless present that he shares with other lost souls. Even his name is not his own, but a word meaning just “thug” in street slang. After a robbery, a car he has stolen turns out to contain something, or rather someone, who will unwittingly show him a way out of the hell in which he has been living so far. Tsotsi is now forced to try to solve conflicts by negotiation and communication rather than violence. For the first time he opens up and is able and willing to talk about the past that he has so angrily suppressed. Apart from the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, the film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2005.

About the director

Gavin Hood

Gavin Hood studied law and direction in South Africa and screenwriting at the University of California in Los Angeles. After finishing his studies he returned to South Africa and made educational films about the  HIV/AIDS epidemic for the Ministry of Health. In 1998 he made his first short feature debut with The Storekeeper, which won awards e.g. at the Melbourne International Festival. He followed this with A Reasonable Man (1998), screened in the competition section at Karlovy Vary in 1999. At the All Africa Film Awards festival in 2001 the film won awards for best actor, screen play and direction. In 2001 he made a film adaptation of Polish writer H. Sienkiewicz’s adventure story for children In Desert and Wilderness, which won the Best of the Fest Award at the Chicago IFF for Children in 2002. In 2003 Hood started working on his adaptation of the novel Tsotsi by the acclaimed South African author, Athol Fugard.


The Little Film Company
, CA 91604, Studio City
United States of America
Tel: +1 818 762 6999
Fax: +1 818 760 2981
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: Gavin Hood
Screenplay: Gavin Hood
Dir. of Photography: Lance Gewer
Music: Mark Kilian, Paul Hepker
Editor: Megan Gill
Producer: Peter Fudakowski
Production: The UK Film and TV Production Company Plc
Cast: Presley Chweneyagae, Terry Pheto, Kenneth Nkosi, Mothusi Magano
Contact: The Little Film Company


Peter Fudakowski



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