Level 2 Visual/Oral Text Essay for Tsotsi by HC111215203950


									         Level 2 English        Visual/Oral Text Essay exemplar for Tsotsi

         Demonstrate the importance of the opening scenes / sequences from
         your studied film in foreshadowing later elements of the whole work.

                     The opening sequence of the South African film Tsotsi, directed by Gavin
Intro                Hood, was very important in foreshadowing later elements in the whole
Names film,          work. The first sequence shows us the thug Tsotsi and his gang (Die Aap,
director, gives      Boston and Butcher) gambling together in his shack. They then leave the
brief summary of     shack and go to a train station, the central station of Johannesburg, where
scene and
                     they begin their daily routine of crime. Many parts of the opening sequence
answers question
                     use film techniques which are significant in foreshadowing themes and motifs
                     important to the film.

Paragraph 1:         The first shot is an ECU of dice being rolled. The camera then zooms out
Techniques are       and we see two men, Die Aap and Butcher gambling together. The dice are
named, symbols       symbols of luck and chance. This is important because throughout the film
are explained.       we see the gang and Tsotsi make decisions that rely on luck to get themselves
Analysis of          out of trouble. This is how they are constantly living their lives – always on
foreshadowing,       the edge, never knowing what is about to happen, just like the roll of the dice.
linked to theme.     This scene foreshadows later elements of the film and some of Tsotsi‟s
Comment on           decisions. When he decides to steal the car while the driver is out buzzing
effect on viewer
                     her husband to open the gate for her, the luck / fate motif is shown, as Tsotsi
shows awareness
of director’s        drives off only to find there is a baby in the back seat. This is unexpected for
purpose.             the viewer but more so for Tsotsi. It shows how luck has affected his life as
                     this baby will lead Tsotsi on his journey to redemption (a main theme of the

Paragraph 2:         During the opening sequence there is also a CU of Butcher holding a weapon,
Detailed             then violently stabbing a pile of money into the table. This weapon – simply a
supporting           sharpened bicycle spoke with a wooden handle – is common in South Africa.
evidence given       It pierces the victim‟s skin, causing little bleeding. It is often used by gangsters
for points. Key      for murders. The CU shot of this weapon foreshadows later elements in the
words from the       film. It will be used to kill an innocent old man on the train for his pension
question are
                     money, which is significant because it shows the extent of violence and crime
Reference to         in South Africa. This is just one of the brutal crimes committed by Tsotsi‟s
ideas developed      gang and shows what kind of life Tsotsi is redeeming himself from. Tsotsi
later in the film.   eventually realises the effect of his crimes when he speaks to Miriam and she
                     tells him about the circumstances of her husband‟s death: “It‟s a long walk
                     home from work, and you never know who‟s behind you.”

Paragraph 3:         In the opening sequence Tsotsi is shown to be alone, and this foreshadows
Clear analysis       later elements of the film. The first time we see him, it is a MS of him with
and link to          his back to us, looking out the window into the vastness of the shantytown.
character            He is in the background, further away from the camera than the other gang
development          members. It is clear he is an outsider, but still the leader. When Die Aap
                      asks Tsotsi “What are we doing today?” we know that Tsotsi makes the
                      decisions in the gang. His distance from the others foreshadows the aspects
                      of his past we learn about later, how he cannot reach out to anyone and how
                      the journey he takes with the baby will change this. It also suggests how his
                      life is at the moment, and that he is the one going to change, not the others.

Paragraph 4:          As the camera tracks Tsotsi and the gang leaving the shack and walking
Detailed              through the shanty town we see other gangsters sitting around, some on
reference to          cars. We hear them laughing at Tsotsi, calling him “Little gangster”. One
dialogue and          yells, “Have you learnt to drive yet?” This dialogue foreshadows Tsotsi‟s
camera work           actions later in the film. Tsotsi appears rather childlike despite his leadership
analysed and          and this is emphasized by the fact he hasn‟t learnt to drive yet as an adult
linked to theme.      would have. During the film, Tsotsi ends up stealing two cars: one with the
Analysis shows        baby and another which he sells for money to help Boston sit his teaching
insight and           exam. This shows Tsotsi‟s inner journey. He goes from just caring about
mature thinking.      himself to trying to help others achieve in life. Driving also links to the many
                      other motifs of Tsotsi‟s journey later in the film such as walking on train
                      tracks, running through the wasteland and walking through the slums.

Paragraph 5:          At the end of the opening sequence, there is an establishing shot of the vast
Additional point      interior of the train station. The mise-en-scene emphasises it is clean,
made about            modern and impersonal. This contrasts with the idea in the huge billboard in
mise-en-scene         the background which says „We are all affected by HIV and AIDS.‟ This sign
(* this point         foreshadows the significance of AIDS in Tsotsi‟s life but also suggests the
could have been       extent of the problem in Africa. Later on we see a flashback of Tsotsi as a
omitted as strictly   child in his mother‟s bedroom, where she lies dying of AIDS. She is telling
speaking it is not    him to come over, but Tsotsi‟s father interjects and tells him to leave. He
part of the           tries to love and reach out but is told off. The flashback makes us empathise
opening               with Tsotsi and understand why he seems cold and emotionless and unable to
                      reach out to other people. Tsotsi hasn‟t been shown any other way of living.
                      He has grown up alone and only had himself to rely on.

Conclusion:           The opening sequence in the film Tsotsi is important and foreshadows later
Key words from        elements in the whole work. This is by the use of techniques such as
essay question        symbolism, camera work, dialogue and mise-en-scene which help the viewer
used and points       understand ideas significant in the whole film. Elements at the start
summarised            foreshadow the main theme of Tsotsi‟s journey and important issues such as
concisely.            violence and AIDS in South Africa today.

                         - Laura McMillan
                         (with some minor editing by Ms G.)

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