Tsotsi Discussion



In the manifesto: “Towards a Third Cinema”  by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, they state:

“The anti-imperialist struggle of the peoples of the Third World and of their equivalents inside the imperialist countries constitutes today the axis of the world revolution. Third cinema is, in our opinion, the cinema that recognizes in that struggle the most gigantic cultural, scientific, and artistic manifestation of our time, the great possibility of constructing a liberated personality with each people as the starting point – in a word, the decolonization of culture.”

In your opinion, do you think the ideals of Third Cinema are alive today? Give examples as to why or why not based on films seen for this class in the comments field below this post.

39 Responses to “Tsotsi Discussion”

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  4. Jessica says:

    Third (World) Cinema, conceived by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, in their manifesto, “Towards a Third Cinema”, is best understood as films that address certain topics. These topics include questioning the structures of power, aiming for liberation of the oppressed, questioning identities and communities within a nation who have left their countries because of persecution, exile, or economic migration, the creation of dialogue with history to challenge previously held conceptions of the past, and often reflect on the experiences of poverty and subordination, by showing how it is truly lived, not imagined.

    This idea of filmmaking has been present in some of the films we have watched throughout this course, the most recent of which being Hotel Rwanda, released in 2005. Being honest, I was not aware of the Rwandan genocide that took place in 1994 (to be fair, I was only 9 years old when it occurred). And while we’re all familiar with the exaggeration and Hollywood-ization of historical events, I think it’s fair to assume that without them, much about history would be forgotten. Because of Hotel Rwanda, I conducted research merely to better understand, for myself, what exactly happened. What are the chances of this had I not seen the movie?

    Tsotsi (translated to mean ‘Thug’) was another film created that could be considered Third Cinema. As many have said, when Tsotsi steals that car, and ultimately the baby, it is this moment in his life that forces him to reassess himself. And while the baby was crucial to the story, I think it was Miriam (the woman who feeds the baby for Tsotsi) that helped Tsotsi reach a true turning point. After a flashback, where we learn about Tsotsi/David’s past (his mother being on her deathbed, and his abusive father refusing to let him go near her), we have a better understanding of how he came to be. Over time, Miriam showed Tsotsi kindness, even after her learning of how Tsotsi came to acquire the baby. She pushed for him to return the baby to his mother, and as he left, he asked if he could still see her. She didn’t respond, but they both smiled at each other as he walked away. I think the tagline of this film, “In this world…redemption comes just once”, had more to do with Miriam’s kindness towards Tsotsi, despite everything she knew.

  5. Shelina Turner says:

    I believe that third world cinema is prevalent in today’s cinema. I believe that Tsotsi is somewhat of a stretch to meet the criteria. It does give an inside look at what people are willing to do to try and make their lives better in these third world countries. I believe that better examples of third world cinema would be Battle of Algiers or No Mans Land. They are telling the story of oppression of the government. I believe an example of relatable third world cinema would be Hotel Rwanda. In this film it shows the story of a hotel worker trying to save his family and neighbors. It was not the government that was causing the pain and suffering, it was the people of the nation. Tsotsi shows what the orphaned children of South Africa will do to protect themselves, and to try and stay alive.
    I believe any movie that shows Americans, or any first world nation, an inside view of what people in third world countries around the world are going though is amazing. We are often so consumed with work, social media, homework, and what is going on our TV shows that we are oblivious to the struggle that other people in the world are going through.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Shelina,

      I agree with your assessment about Tsotsi being a stretch to meet the criteria of what makes a Third Cinema film. Additionally, I agree with the idea that Battle of Algiers proving to be a better example. As Saadi Yacef said, it was important that they tell the truth, that the audience sees the chaos, murder, and destruction caused by both the French and the Algerians. In this film, we see the truth in what was experienced. However, as stated in Solanas and Getino’s manifesto, “revolutionary cinema cannot exist before the revolution”. So is this film then disqualified from being Third Cinema?

  6. Erik Rickards says:

    I think that the idea of Third Cinema is one that is very much on the rise in modern society. While we can certainly see it at work in Tsotsi, I believe that we can also see a trend of giving voice to the periphery in many other films that we have watched over the semester. Of particular importance, in my opinion, is Atanarjuat and the idea of visual sovereignty as a means of re-establishing cultural presence. I think that in an increasingly globalized world, we can witness a growing desire for the knowledge of other cultures and other points of view, which leads to an rise in the variety of film in the modern age– this is something that I really believe can be witnessed in the collection of films assigned for this course. This is why we see more perspectives offered in more recent films– Tsotsi, Atanarjuat, Turtles Can Fly– these are all films that I believe become more and more common and successful as time goes on.

    Solanas, Fernando, and Octavio Getino. “Towards a Third Cinema.” Documentary Is Never Neutral | Towards a Third Cinema by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino. Documentary Is Never Neutral, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Eric,

      I think you’re right about that. When Third Cinema was initially conceived, it was in a period where “without the support of revolutionary political power, revolutionary cinema or art is impossible”. In today’s world, this simply isn’t the case. With our technological advances and worldwide interests, any story can be told, and told well. And even with the exaggerations of Hollywood, it still says “Hey, I’m here, and this really happened”. As long as it provokes thought, as Hotel Rwanda did for me, then the film succeeded in my opinion.

  7. Aaron Walling says:

    The Third Cinema is alive and thriving because of movies like “Tsotsi” that provides a window into their world. That they go through the same problem as we do, with directors portraying this in way that grips the audience. Through music, visuals, and performances these all bring different aspects to the table to give the audience the story.
    For example, many movies about Africa from the western eyes portray that side of the world as savages. “Black Hawk Down” shows the countless bodies thrown at the soldiers as they overwhelm the Americans. “Quantum of Solace” shows them as money and power driven people. Unless it is a sports movie, then most of the time the African people or any race are misrepresented.
    That is where counter history steps in to correct these issues with a little help of movie magic. For example, in “Tsotsi” you see the change in the character over time that leads him to shooting Butcher and holding a child hostage. The boy has dealt with a lot in his past and certain scene depicts him leaving his mother and the drunk man harming the dog. He doesn’t have love for anyone, except it comes back to him to save a person as well as have the saving grace to return the child back safely. His character goes against the norm of what the western world views of the Africans. Another example of counter-history with Africans is the movie “Hotel Rwanda”, this movie destroys the notion of that racism is gone. The great scene of the colonel explaining that they are only taking white people shows is a powerful example. Now I know that this isn’t a third cinema film, but it does help explain the movie “Battle of Algiers” because there was a conflict in which an oppressed people revolted in a way that may have gone against what history says. The best scene from “Battle of Algiers” isn’t the baby scene, or the siege at the stairwell. It is the reporter asking the question of if this attack was right. This shows how two different people may look at history, and giving the third cinema a chance to display their truth is a very powerful tool.
    In the article ‘Towards a Third Cinema’ the talk about the differing views of culture, art, and music is actually not a good point in my opinion. All movies focus on different areas of culture, music, and art and holding that to a standard of based on first or third world answers is very near sighted. A great example is the movie “Titanic” where on the upper deck is the sweet classical music playing in the background, where as the Irish folk music plays in the lower decks with the poorer people.
    The other article ‘Redeeming Features’ makes a point that isn’t true because it doesn’t follow through. That “Tsotsi” the novel is written by a white liberal humanist with white pathos. However, you can think that, but this movie doesn’t play on the stereotypes about Africans.

  8. djrupp says:

    I do believe that Third Cinema ideals are very much alive and well today. Aside from them obviously being present in Tsotsi, I believe that we have also seen them in Turtles Can Fly, Atanarjuat, and some of the shorts from the 9/11 compilation. All were made by directors attempting to broadcast lesser known or seen bits of their own culture or regional history, and all strived to avoid Hollywood cliches and American idiosyncrasies in their films. The films themselves are meant solely to depict a character that either is the director, such as in the case of some of the 9/11 shorts (particularly the one about the director who meets the marine’s ghost) or is otherwise simply an average person, going about their day in the own way and doing their own thing. There are no definitive “heros” or “villains” in these films; only humans, with good characteristics as well as utter flaws, reacting to whatever life throws at them in a realistic and emotional way. It is through the use of these easy-to-connect-to characters that the directors are able to tap even further into the point of Third Cinema and ask us to experience the same compelling emotions that the characters do in order to get the directors message across, whether it’s as simple as taking away something from the cultural tale of Atarnarjuat or as complex as attempting to experience first hands the harsh reality that is the environment and social situations that the characters of Turtles Can Fly experience on a daily basis, which we, as American’s, often do not get to see at all thanks to the ever darkening shadow that Hollywood casts over foreign cinema.

    Solanas, Fernando, and Octavio Getino. “Towards a Third Cinema.” Documentary Is Never Neutral | Towards a Third Cinema by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino. Documentary Is Never Neutral, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015.

    • Anonymous says:

      Love the connection of Turtles can Fly, because it does raise the point of counter history. Great job bringing the whole picture in focus.

  9. Heather says:

    I do believe the ideals of Third Cinema are alive today, at least based on some of the films we’ve seen so far, the most relevant being The Battle of Algiers and 11’09’11 September 11. The Battle of Algiers was highly censored to the point of not being shown when it was initially completed to then being shown in specific locations bringing on attacks by those who didn’t like its perceived message. September 11 was an uncensored compilation of works in response to the events in New York from artists around the world. I think that both of these works have controversial elements that were a risk for those involved with the making and also those who push the film forward and try to get others to see a bigger picture.
    Atanarjuat also pushes boundaries and I think could be part of the Third Cinema. As we read, everything about this film was meant to give the Iunit people a voice and show how life truly was for them. It may not have been controversial but the fact that there was little to no Hollywood influence I think is what lends itself to being part of this movement.
    As for the film Tsotsi, I feel like none of the elements that make up Third Cinema are present. I understand that it can be difficult to keep all the elements from a novel when you do a screen adaptation, but from the Lindiwe Dovey article it seems like a lot of the original message from the novel was lost. While I highly enjoyed the film it seems like there were a lot of themes that could have been elaborated on if it wanted to make a bigger cultural impact. Now, I am sure that I was being a bit naive in not recognizing that it was AIDS that his mother was dying from considering the foreshadowing created with the giant AIDS banner, but I thought the scene with his mother was overpowered by the aggression of his father and the events with his dog which I felt were also important for his character development but maybe it was a missed opportunity.

    • djrupp says:

      I totally agree with you about the loss of character development in that scene; I think that even though we were obviously supposed to take away from the bit with the father that Tsotsi had a volatile family history that could be seen as a heavy contribution to his later indifference towards violence, a lot of the softer side of Tsotsi that we already rarely get to see throughout the film could have been better projected into interactions with his mother in those extremely personal and depressing moments.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Heather,

      I definitely missed the fact that his mother died from AIDS. So you’re not alone there.

  10. Haley Nelson says:

    *Sorry, I pressed something, and my post was submitted prematurely. Then it happened AGAIN and I lost my entire second draft. Here’s the rest!*

    This struck me as a surprising prompt to follow our watching of the Gavin Hood film “Tsotsi,” as the film struck me as a light, if not a non-example of Third World cinema. Actually, I should not be so quick to write it off, for there were elements of the film that indeed suggested its inclusion in Third World cinema; however, the film’s presentation of “Third World Cinema Values” were scattered and ineffectual, I think. Much more successful examples of Third World films from our sequence, in my opinion, were “Battle of Algiers,” “Turtles Can Fly,” and teetering on the edge, “No Man’s Land.”
    I’d like to begin with a definition of Third World Cinema that read a bit more naturally than the version outlined in Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino’s “Towards a Third World Cinema”; the version I found was from a website offering an introduction into all things “Third World Cinema,” and reads as follows:

    “Third Cinema seeks to expose the process by which oppression occurs; and to criticize those responsible for social inequality in a country or community. Some of the goals of Third Cinema are:
    Raise political consciousness in the viewer/spectator
    Expose historical, social, political and/or economic policies that have led to exploitive conditions for the nation
    Engage spectators in reflection which will inspire them to take revolutionary action and improve their conditions
    Create films that express the experiences of the masses of a particular region
    Produce and distribute films that are uncensored by oppressive entities

    It is doubtless that “Tsotsi” did indeed paint a picture of the polito-socio-economic struggles particular to South Africa. Doing so was in fact necessary to center the plot, give contextual information on Tsotsi’s behavior and personal origins, and bestowed a certain gravity on his final redemption. Presenting the particular struggles faced by a particular population (in this case, the socioeconomic imbalances present in the South African population, and the desperate, violent condition of its’ slums) does seem at a first glance to align this film with the central focus of Third World Cinema; however in the case of the film “Tsotsi.” the emphasis of the storyline is not on the political underpinnings of his situation, but rather on the specific experiences held by the central character. In this way, the setting is almost incidental. As was stated in the article “Redeeming Features” by Lindewe Dovey,

    “Hood’s audiovisualization of the novel prevents Tsotsi from being divorced in the viewer’s mind from an historical and geographical location. (Dovey 155).”

    While it’s not impossible to extrapolate the experiences of Tsotsi to the grander population of South Africa, the film did not spend time drawing this comparison for the audience, nor did it investigate the politico-socio-economic origins or development of the situation that Tsotsi and his comrades found themselves in. There was little to no reference to an imperialistic power that created his circumstances (Apartheid), nor was there really any normative critique of it. Consequently, there was little opportunity for the audience to connect with the abstracted condition of South Africa, outside of Tsotsi’s individualized experiences. In fact, Gavin Hood himself stated in an interview:

    …‘The issues in the film are very much about the gap between the haves and have-nots, if you want to politicise it in some way’. He goes on to admit, however, that ‘Really we wanted to make a film about a young guy who’s angry and struggling with his own identity who becomes a young man. In a sense it’s a coming of age story, a universal story, but it just happens to be set in quite an extreme place’ (cited in Zomorodi 2006).” (Dovey 157)

    In this way, “Tsotsi” seems ill-suited for inclusion in “Third World Cinema.” It does not intend to raise political consciousness in the audience, necessarily expose the origins behind the setting of the film, nor does it bestow responsibility on any one entity. As Dovey states:

    “This gesture is a neoliberal one: the viewer feels catharsis because Tsotsi has made the right decision and has been redeemed; the film does not attempt, in the final analysis, to offer solutions to the poverty and disease that have fuelled Tsotsi’s violence. The film could be criticized, then, for subtly endorsing the status quo. (Dovey 158)”

    At best, the film engages with the audience, and may inspire viewers to reflect on the conditions seen, but does little else.

    I would venture to say that several other films in our sequence stood out as far superior examples of “Third World Cinema” than did “Tsotsi.” For example, Gillio Pontecorvo’s “The Battle of Algiers” and Bahman Ghobadi’s “Turtles Can Fly” were much more effectual in conveying a politically-tied struggle experienced by a large population of people.

    Pontecorvo’s “The Battle of Algiers” was perhaps the most adept in conveying “Third World Cinema.” To parallel it with the definition I cited earlier, the film almost flawlessly succeeded in exposing the oppression felt by Algerians at the hands of the French during the Algerian War. The film included comprehensive exposes and critiques of action for both sides of the war, amply described the politico-socio-economic origins and development of the conflicts, engaged (and in some instances, forced) the viewers in reflection, and tapped into a story that aptly described the experiences held by native Algerians and the Algeria-settled French. Stylistically, the film departed from known Hollywood and European aesthetics in favor of a politically-illustrative film, and the cherry on the Third World Cinema cake was that the film was banned and censored by certain countries, which some say is a key characteristic of Third World Cinema.

    Similarly, Ghobadi’s “Turtles Can Fly” similarly imparted a Third World Cinema-esque portrayal of Kurdish struggles immediately pre-US intervention. “Turtles Can Fly” hit almost every Third World cinematic characteristic, save for a very intentional lack of of explanation of the origins of the Kurdish conflicts (in an effort by the filmmakers to avoid sensationalizing the origins and potentially distract from their realtime and disastrous effects). Throughout the film, the audience becomes very familiar with the often dire situations of Kurdish refugee children, which not only engages the viewers intimately, but causes pause for reflection and incites a desire to see their circumstances change. Most importantly, the film illustrates with a sad authenticity the experiences held by the masses of Kurds displaced throughout the Middle East, which have often gone unnoticed by the international media stage. In this way, the film accomplishes all that a Third World Cinema film intends to do, minus an exposition on the roots of the conflict, which in the case of this film was intentional.

    The intentions of Third World Cinema seem to be made very clear by those who critique them. A Third World film must, at its core, convey the experiences of an oppressed, powerless, or unfairly situated group of people, provide historical information, offer a normative analysis, and successfully engage the audience in those struggles in the hopes of inciting change or understanding. There are of course many films that touch on these requirements, such as “Tsotsi” but a select few that accomplish the holistic goal. In this way, I would not renounce “Tsotsi” as a failure of Third World Cinema, but perhaps an incomplete, however well-intentioned and informative, Third World character piece.

    Works Cited
    Davis, Zeinabu. “Third World Cinema.” https://thirdcinema.blueskylimit.com/. 21 Nov. 2015. Web.
    Dovey, Lindiwe. (2006). “Redeeming features: from Tsotsi (1980) to Tsotsi(2006)”. Journal of African Cultural Studies. V19N2 Pg(143-164)
    Solanas, Fernando and Getino, Octavio. “Towards A Third Cinema.” 21 Nov. 2015. Web.  https://documentaryisneverneutral.com/words/camasgun.html

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  11. brittanyhoch says:

    First let me state what I believe Third Cinema is, as my understanding may be off. What I understand is that Third Cinema is different from first cinema in that it is not focused on monetary gain but on getting out a social or political message. Usually these films come out of third world countries, from people that have been oppressed. The use of film to get out a message makes sense as stated in the article, Towards a Third Cinema, the importance of a Third Cinema is, “…to be found in the specific meaning of films as a form of communication and because of their particular characteristics, characteristics that allow them to draw audiences of different origins, many of them people who might not respond favourably to the announcement of a political speech.” I think the use of film to communicate and help people recognize the extent of the problem and see aspects of the issue they may not have realized. The thing about film is that it’s not necessarily reality, even if it is based on real events, and that makes it easier for people to watch, like the statement says people may not respond well to a political speech but they may watch a film and get the message without really knowing that was the point. I think that Third Cinema is being used today and films we have watched in class may be considered Third Cinema. The film Tsotsi, while being made by a director that studied at UCLA can be qualified as Third Cinema because, “The emphasis is not on portraying violence in all its gruesome reality as Hollywood does, but in contextualizing scenes of violence within an accurately audio-visualized social environment.” The film doesn’t show all the gory details but lets the viewer focus on the issue of social violence and why it’s occurring. It shows a stark difference in the lives of the poor and the rich, and aims to show there is a need to change the vicious cycle and that change is possible. The other films we have watched in class that could be considered Third Cinema include Turtles Can Fly, No Man’s Land, and Raise the Red lantern. All of them have a social or political issue they are trying to address and inform the population about. Turtles can fly concerns itself with the Kurdish people and their plight and fight living in between several countries that have been to war. No Man’s Land is about the fight between Bosnia and Herzegovina, but focuses on the social issues between the two sides and questions the intervention of outside forces and especially the media. Raise the Red Lantern addresses the social inequalities between men and women and their places within society. So in my opinion Third Cinema is alive today it’s a medium used to communicate ideals and create change that is based on artistic and social concerns rather than monetary gain, and I feel like that can be found in the films I’ve identified and more.

    Works Cited
    Solanas, Fernando and Getino, Octavio. Towards A Third Cinema. Retrieved on November 21, 2015 from https://documentaryisneverneutral.com/words/camasgun.html
    Dovey, Lindiwe. (2006). “Redeeming features: from Tsotsi (1980) to Tsotsi(2006)”. Journal of African Cultural Studies. V19N2 Pg(143-164)

    • Shelina Turner says:

      I was also somewhat confused about third world cinema. I am glad to hear that others didnt find it as cut and dry as I did. With that being said, wonderful thoughts. I hadnt thought about Raise the Red Lantern while I was writing my thoughts on this. Showing what it is like for a normal person in whatever country, what hardships they have endured.

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  12. Shelly DeWilde says:

    Third Cinema is a complete cut from capitalist mainstream culture; it is “outside and against the system, in a cinema of liberation” (“One, Two…Third Cinema” Page 19). In the film Tsotsi, Third Cinema is greatly depicted through the lives of those who are afflicted, poor and oppressed in South Africa through the protagonist, the setting, the transformation that he went through and those characters around him. This film was interesting and different in that there was no real antagonist but the protagonist himself; it was a clear transformation story. First Cinema from the manifesto is based off of the Bourgeois ideals where “man is admitted only as a passive and consuming object” and is aimed at selling movie-life as “reality as it is conceived by the ruling classes” (“One, Two…Third Cinemas” Page 17-18). Tsotsi began as a violent, unforgiving and hardened criminal who was a gangster only consumed with gaining money and items and had no desire to feel or acknowledge human “decency,” it could be argued that he was consumed with material gain, and jealousy for those “ruling classes” and had no real framework outside of that first world ideology that he had perceived.
    Third Cinema differs from First and Second because “the conquest of the ‘fortress of cinema,’ is not important…because it knows, such a conquest will not happen while the political power has not changed hands in a revolutionary way” (“One, Two…Third Cinema” Page 24). Tsotsi steals the baby of a powerful man who is part of the ruling class of South Africa while he is the offspring of a people that are exploited and oppressed. He steals John’s son, cripples his wife, saves his life and Tsotsi forms connection with the baby ultimately changing his world-view to seek redemption from his new understanding of decency. The father John when seen at first is wrathful and vengeful however in the end he gains comprehension of Tsotsi’s condition as a person, as a criminal, as a young man who grew up in a bad situation and gains new recognition of that third world he was ignorant of. This film was a personal transformation story where a criminal breaks the pattern of abuse shown through the analogy of paralysis such as with the dog, the homeless man and the mother. The film was not trying to give a political message but it was trying to show the situation in South Africa through this young man’s story.

    • Shelly -CITATION says:

      Buchsbaum, Jonathan. “One, Two…Third Cinemas.” Third Text 25.1 (2011): 13-28. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Nov. 2015.

    • brittanyhoch says:

      I agree that the film Tsotsi represented Third Cinema well. You as the veiwer can see the situation, that there seems to be a great gap between the rich and poor and also gives the sense that they are really born into it and do what they have to to survive, but that the point of the film is to address that there is an issue but it can be changed just as the character Tsotsi(David)changed in the end.

  13. Courtney Thompson says:

    Third cinema is generally from Third World nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America countries where colonial and imperial forces have come in shaping their political and economic ways of life. First cinema is considered to be the images that Hollywood creates, Second cinema is that of European art that overall rejects the messages that Hollywood suggest, and Third cinema is where the voices of the repressed can finally be heard and stories can be told through their eyes (Dodge). A few films that express third cinema are Tsotsi, Turtles can fly, and Battle of Algiers.

    Tsotsi is an emotional and captivating film by director Gavin Hood. This film is about a young boy David, later known as Tsotsi, struggling to make the right decisions in South Africa. Tsetse lives in a world of violence with his gang members Aap, Boston, and Butcher. This gang stays together day and night praying on anyone that they can get their hands on. They commit robberies, murders, car jackings, and much more, killing anyone who gets in their way. When all seems lost for Tsotsi the audience gets this sense of hope. After Tsotsi kills a woman and steals her car he finds a baby in the back seat, now instead of murdering the child or abandoning it to starve to death, Tsotsi he takes the baby in attempting to care for it. He still does foolish things in order to take care of this baby and as much as the baby needed someone in that moment to take care of him, Tsotsi needed the baby more. This child became hope, hope that he could potentially gain some ounce of humanity back.
    This film embodied Third Cinema as it shows an impoverished group of people that are struggling between so many aspects of life; wealth and poverty, revenge and forgiveness, surrendering or continuing down a oath that has no future. Tsotsi embodies everything that has gone wrong for South Africa, he has practically lost his identity because of his past so he picks up an abusive one, he left what he use to have for something he thought would be better, and he goes against the norm and society.

    Battle of Algiers, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, is a film commissioned by the Algerian government to display the Algerian revolution from both the French and Algerian’s points of view. The French wanted to establish a proper colonial presence, while the Algerians wanted only their independence and freedom. These conflicting mind sets resulted in both sides turning to extreme acts of violence. Pontecorvo was able to show the process of when colonialism is trying to take over and change everything while also showing what an unstoppable force liberation can be. The Algerian people did not give up and aimed for liberation no matter the cost but in this process they became just as bad if not worse than the people invading. The Algerian people went through so much strife, death, and misfortune all because of another country wanting to invade and change their ways of life for, what they believe is, the better. In actuality though these people were treated as less than nothing, barely human, and as though they did not matter.

    Another example of third cinema is in the film Turtles Can Fly. Turtles Can Fly is a heart wrenching film on what a group of children are going through in a refugee camp in Iraq. Turtles Can Fly is directed by Bahman Ghobadi and shows children waiting for the U.S. invasion praying for the down fall of Saddam Hussein. This film presents us with two survivors of a village that was attacked in the middle of the night by Iraqi soldiers while also showing that surviving in this world leaves you with many scars with emotional, mental, or physical. These children were doing everything that the could to make the best out of a bad situation while they waited for help that may have never come. During the duration of the film the audience is rooting for this group of people hoping that liberation will soon come for them. All of the viewers were able to get a different side to this horrible oppression, through the eyes of children.

    Third cinema challenges history making viewers question what they once knew or perhaps even learn something new. Even though all of these films are fictional stories about a non-fictional time the struggles encapsulated in them were very real. Third cinema is able to showcase the oppression whether it was based on race, gender, ethnicity or religion. Third cinema is where the voices of the repressed can finally be heard and stories can be told through their eyes.

    Works Cited
    Dodge, Kim. “What Is Third Cinema.” Third (World) Cinema. N.p., 2007. Web. 21 Nov. 2015.
    Solanas, Fernando, and Octavio Getino. “Towards a Third Cinema.” Documentary Is Never Neutral. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2015.

    • Haley Nelson says:

      Your summary of “Tsotsi” was very helpful in defining its role in Third World Cinema, and I’m happy to see your point of view. I especially appreciated what you left in a comment on my submission,

      “I looked at it through the father John as a symbol of the ruling class, Tsotsi as the offspring of a third world next to a prospering capitalistic world and then there was his friend Boston who was intelligent however barred from exceeding outside of the criminal life due to poverty.”

      In that way, I would agree that “Tsotsi” embodied a lot of issues that Third World Cinema attempts to present. Only by using metaphors (which were arguably successful in portraying the struggles) instead of direct illustrations does it seem less of a Third World Cinema film, and more of a Hollywood interpretation, but other than that, I agree with you!

    • Mikayla Hamlin says:

      Courtney: You make an interesting point that third world cinema is from third world countries to allow them to voice their opinion. I had not made that connection myself, but it is a good point. I can appreciate your concluding paragraph here as well, it pretty well sums up third world cinema in these films and I can agree with your definition.

  14. Haley Nelson says:

    This struck me as a surprising prompt to follow our watching of the Gavin Hood film “Tsotsi,” as the film struck me as a light, if not a non-example of Third World cinema. Actually, I should not be so quick to write it off, for there were elements of the film that indeed suggested its inclusion in Third World cinema; however, the film’s presentation of “Third World Cinema Values” were scattered and ineffectual, I think. Much more successful examples of Third World films from our sequence, in my opinion, were “Battle of Algiers,” “Turtles Can Fly,” and teetering on the edge, “No Man’s Land.”

    I’d like to begin with a definition of Third World Cinema that read a bit more naturally than the version outlined in Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino’s “Towards a Third World Cinema”; the version I found was from a website offering an introduction into all things “Third World Cinema,” and reads as follows:

    “Third Cinema seeks to expose the process by which oppression occurs; and to criticize those responsible for social inequality in a country or community. Some of the goals of Third Cinema are:
    Raise political consciousness in the viewer/spectator
    Expose historical, social, political and/or economic policies that have led to exploitive conditions for the nation
    Engage spectators in reflection which will inspire them to take revolutionary action and improve their conditions
    Create films that express the experiences of the masses of a particular region
    Produce and distribute films that are uncensored by oppressive entities

    • Courtney Thompson says:

      Thank you for bring in the definition of third cinema. I too chose Battle of Algiers and Turtles Can Fly as examples of Third Cinema. Both of the films expressed a group of people that were being oppressed and being forced into a way of life that is not their own. These films were ways for these abused people to finally show the chain of events through their eyes.

    • Shelly DeWilde says:

      I was also having trouble identifying Tsotsi as a Third Cinema film however if looking at it metaphorically the symbolism and analogies used can be seen through this perspective. This film is not highly political such as the Battle of Algiers, Paradise Now or No Man’s Land however its subtlety is refreshing and thought provoking when sympathizing with Tsotsi.
      I looked at it through the father John as a symbol of the ruling class, Tsotsi as the offspring of a third world next to a prospering capitalistic world and then there was his friend Boston who was intelligent however barred from exceeding outside of the criminal life due to poverty.

      • Heather Corcoran says:

        I also had a difficult time associating Tsotsi with Third Cinema. While I think that there are aspects to the film that could have lent itself to the movement, to me it didn’t evoke anything revolutionary to me. Maybe if the story had been stretched and we were able to delve into the characters more we could have had a clearer idea of the real issues facing those who grow up in the same conditions as Tsotsi.

    • Mikayla Hamlin says:

      I can agree with your definition of Third World Cinema. It took me awhile to figure it out myself and I think my understanding was more or less the same. It also took me awhile as to what exactly this prompt was asking because I also thought at first that it really didn’t seem to have anything to do with the film Tsotsi.

  15. Mikayla Hamlin says:

    I do think that the ideals of Third Cinema are alive today. There are plenty of films that have come out in recent years that embody such ideals as described by Solanas and Getino. Several of which we have watched in this class, including No Man’s Land, Turtles Can Fly, and Tsotsi. The idea that they seem to be getting at is Third Cinema illustrates the liberation of an oppressed people through film, and the struggle to have their voice heard.
    No Man’s Land was Tanvoic’s way of liberating his own people, the Bosnians. The film was a revolutionary way of looking at the Bosnian war and modern warfare (it was released in 2001). The influence of the media and other technology was finally introduced as part of an anti-war film. The injustices that the Bosnians were experiencing and the genocide of 1995, enforced by Serbian forces, led to the outbreak of the war. Tanovic wanted the rest of the world to be informed of these social injustices. This is the gigantic cultural struggle that Solanas and Getino were talking about. The Bosnian people were being oppressed by the Serbians, and Tanovic wanted their voices to be heard through his characterization of Ciki and Cera in the film. The United Nations peacekeepers were meant to reduce the tension between these two opposing forces, but they had been doing nothing to try to intervene in anyway. The news reporter, Jane Livingston, was also meant to step in and give these people a voice. But in the end, we are still left with the picture of an abandoned Bosnia.
    Turtles Can Fly was another good example of liberation of one’s own people. The Kurdish director, Bohman Ghobadi, wanted to shine a light on the pain and suffering experienced by his people in Iraq and Iran. Last week, we discussed how the film provides a counter-history. Turtles Can Fly was released in 2004, when hardly any other film makers were willing to depict such social issues. It was a great tool for Ghobadi to use to share with the rest of the world the misery and social injustices the Kurdish people have experienced throughout their history due to dictatorial and fascist authorities.
    In Tsotsi, the director Gavin Hood depicts the conditions of the slums millions of impoverished South African citizens are exposed to. The film is a great way for Hood to liberate some of these street thugs. There is much violence and poor health conditions these people are subject to. The character of David, or Tsotsi, represents the persona of the damaged individuals within this society, but there are still some redeeming features about David as we learn. The film does a great job representing the people, and showing their perspective of things rather than just the negative in their life. Hood gives his audience a sense of hope for these people.

    • brittanyhoch says:

      I agree that the film Tsotsivgave the viewers a sense of hope and that change is possible if they realize the issue exists and its up to them to make the change. I think thats the point of Third Cinema, communicate a message about a social or political issue to encourage change. This film did a good job of communicating that there is an issue but that there is hope if people change things.

    • Shelly DeWilde says:

      I am in concurrence with your first paragraph and I am grateful for the definition you gave of Third Cinema.
      No Man’s Land to me was not really a condemnation of Serbian people due to Nino’s familiarity with ÄŒiki; both are of Balkan origin, speak the same language and apparently dated the same girl. No Man’s Land was great in showing the exploitation of the Bosnian War through both the media and the U.N. that primarily left the world to misinterpret them.
      The director Hood for his representation of the book Tsotsi chose great actors, great camera angles and settings. The one scene when Tsotsi is at his bedside receiving Boston’s forgiveness with the lighting on the baby was the ultimate portrayal of seeking redemption. The scene when Tsotsi first uses the world “please” was when his character was became more human and raw, open for change. I greatly enjoyed this refreshing film.

    • Heather Corcoran says:

      I agree that this film leaves the audience with a sense of hope and that it wasn’t overly negative and even though the characters had struggles they all seemed fairly happy. I feel like it would have had a larger impact if the character of Tsotsi was more evil. That may sound strange but even in the beginning you hear him being laughed at for being a young thug, like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. When one of his men killed the older man on the train it tore the group apart. Maybe that was the point, for him to be on the verge of becoming something really dreadful and that if we can intervene early enough we can save all these children from going down the same path. However, it also seemed like it was all of hi life experiences that allowed him to want to do good things, what about a child who didn’t have a memory of someone caring for them, could they still make the same choices in the end?

    • Aaron Walling says:

      It is very interesting that you used the counter-history point to this. Instead of focusing on the mindless violence of Africans who are out for blood in “Black Hawk Down”, this movie instead goes for the human approach. That these are people dealing with issues that the first world deals with as well.

    • Shelina Turner says:

      I agree that this film gave hope, hope that people can change. I like the view that you give on third world cinema. That it is more of a voice that needs to be heard. Like I mentioned in my post, we often take for granted the things we have. Working on homework, playing games on our smart phones, checking Instagram, we are most of the time ignorantly unaware of the issues that are happening around the world. Just because it isnt a war zone, dosent mean that people arent suffering.

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