Exploring Films outside HollywoodStudents must study one film produced outside Hollywood in terms of:The characters and narrative of the chosen filmThe issues raised by the chosen filmThe representation of people, places events and issuesHow film language contributes to those representations . Case Study 1: TsotsiSynopsisTsotsi is a young gangster who lives in one of the many shanty towns situated just outside Johannesburg. He is the leader of three other young criminals: Boston, Butcher 32269
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1. Teaching Films made Outside Hollywood Case Studies: Tsotsi, Ghosts and Yasmin
2. Exploring Films outside Hollywood
Students must study one film produced outside Hollywood in terms of:
The characters and narrative of the chosen film
The issues raised by the chosen film
The representation of people, places events and issues
How film language contributes to those representations
3. Case Study 1: Tsotsi
Tsotsi is a young gangster who lives in one of the many shanty towns situated just outside Johannesburg. He is the leader of three other young criminals: Boston, Butcher and Aap. After killing a man on a train Tsotsi fights with Boston, the most intelligent gang leader and runs off. Later when sheltering from the storm he seizes the opportunity to steal a car not realizing there is a baby in the back seat. The baby changes Tsotsi’s life and this film traces his journey from nameless thug to someone who finally finds the strength to do the ‘right thing’
4. Tsotsi : Industry.
South African film industry is still relatively undeveloped when compared to Britain or other European Film industries.
During Apartheid years (1948 – 1990) government only funded Afrikaans language films. Only ‘black’ films, Zulu language films showing black population supporting apartheid
1990’s(Post-apartheid) Hollywood made films in S.A. – usually starring Hollywood actors e.g. James Earl Jones, Denzil Washington. These actors adopted an accent/dialect based on assumption that all black South Africans spoke in same way and could be easily understood by English speaking audience!
Until recently 20% cheaper to make films in South Africa than in Australia 40% cheaper than filming in USA
Economy is now stronger so making films today is more expensive.
S.A. government funds Industry and there is more interest in producing films that contain an authentic South African ‘voice’.
5. Audience Today TV in S.A. has a healthy representation of black south Africans and soaps attract a large, growing audience.
It was hoped that this audience would also provide a market for locally produced feature films
Poverty prevents this, most cinemas are in white shopping malls with very high ticket prices
State funding (through National Film & Video Council) is helping but while huge social problems remain it is difficult to envisage an industry that truly reflects lives of black majority
Tsotsi rare example of a film that has attracted black and white audiences in South Africa.
6. Viewing the trailer
7. The opening sequence: representation, themes and issues
Poverty Chance/Destiny Decency
HIV/Aids Tsotsi’s story
Hope Name Family
8. Sequence2: Seminal moments
Sequence3: Alternative Endings – to resolve or not to resolve?
9. Ghosts: Synopsis Ghosts tells the story of a young single mother Ai Qin on her journey from Fujian Province to Great Britain. Ai Qin despairs of ever providing a better life for herself and her young son in China, so she borrows a vast sum of money to be smuggled the England. The journey proves to be truly terrible and the destination (Thetford, Norfolk) little better. At first, Ai Qin works in a food packing factory only to find that she is earning less than the English girl who works beside her and that the ‘agency’ is deducting large sums of money each week from her wages for ‘taxes’. She then carries out back breaking work hard picking spring onions for Sainsbury, Asda and Tesco only to find she is unable to afford even to buy a bunch when she visits her local Supermarket. Finally, she is forced to leave the house she has shared with twelve other illegal immigrants and travel to Morecambe in order to join the gangs of workers picking cockles in the Bay.
10. INDUSTRY& AUDIENCE Nick Broomfield a well known documentary maker made Ghosts in 2006. He based the film on the real life experiences of Chinese illegal immigrants.
The experiences of Ghosts central character closely mirrors Aiquin’s real life experiences. Indeed, throughout the film the line between fact and fiction is constantly being blurred.
Some six months after completing Ghosts Broomfield set up the Morecambe victims fund with Guardian journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai.
11. Ghosts received a very positive critical reception when it went on National release in 2006
However, seen as having no chance of an Oscar as Broomfield’s ‘natural category’ was Best Documentary and Ghosts was (arguably) not strong enough to succeed as a feature film.
12. Themes and Issues
Poverty/ Ghosts Exploitation
Ai Qin’s story
Modern Slavery Family Racism
13. Representation, themes and Issues: Ghosts Sequence 1 :The beginning
Sequence 2 :Vanishing ways of Life
Sequence 3: Resolution?
14. GHOSTS The captions in the opening sequences underline important facts that seem to underpin the whole film. Firstly we are told that the film is based on real events which took place in 2004. Then that ‘3 million migrant workers in the UK form the ‘backbone’ of the food supply system and the construction, hospitality and health industries’. Nick Broomfield obviously thinks that we need to know just how useful people like Ai Qin are in Great Britain because they work in our hospitals, factories, shops and hotels.
The final caption is shown as Ai Qin works in the fields in Fujian; it tells us that workers like her only earn £30 a month. This shot showing Ai Qin bent double, up to her knees in water, reminds us of an earlier shot, before the flashback as she bends to rake up the cockles on Morecambe Bay. In both places she is forced to work long hours in terrible conditions in order to support her family. She is so poor and this means she has few choices in life so it is easy for others to take advantage of her desperation to build a better life for herself and her little boy.
15. Yasmin:Synopsis Yasmin is a young woman struggling to live a modern, westernized life, while still pleasing her traditional Muslim father. She is not happy in her arranged marriage to her Pakistani husband, Faysel, and does not even let her friends and work colleagues know that she is married. After the events of 11 September in the USA, Yasmin finds that she is treated differently by her friends. After Faysel is arrested as a terror suspect for making calls to a relative in Pakistan, Yasmin begins to grow weary of the western society which has always been her home.
16. INDUSTRY & AUDIENCE.
Yasmin has been released in cinemas in France, Germany, Brazil, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and Italy.
It garnered positive reviews at Edinburgh and Venice, won an audience award at the Festival of British film at Dinard and an Ecumenical Prize in Locarno, Switzerland.
In January 2005 Archie Panjabi (Yasmin) was chosen as Britain's representative in a key European showcase for upcoming actors at next month's Berlin film festival.
17. Yasmin did not receive a British release so went straight to Channel 4 – several reasons given for this.
Frivolity of UK’s film-going culture?
Failure to get a UK Distributor interested?
Popularity in France finally attracted a UK distributor (Verve Pictures) but no openings at UK Cinemas.
Themes and Issues
Gender Alienation Culture
Family Identity Racism
19. Representation, themes and issues:Yasmin Sequence 1: Dressing and Undressing
Sequence 2: A Clash of Cultures
Sequence 3: Resolution?