Monday, March 20, 2006


SA pirates 'hijack' Tsotsi film.

Actor Presley Chweneyagae plays the troubled Tsotsi. South Africa's Oscar-winning film Tsotsi (slang for "gangster") has fallen prey to real-life tsotsis. Pirate DVD copies are selling in Johannesburg for less than a quarter of the retail price of a commercial DVD. The pirate DVDs give the film, about the life of a young car-jacker, a different ending from the one being shown on the big screen. The film, with a South African director and cast, this year won South Africa its first foreign language film Oscar.

Director Gavin Hood expressed anger at the appearance of the pirate discs. "When you buy a ticket and when you buy a genuine DVD, you are an investor in South African film as your money is going back to people who invest in local films," he told the Sunday Times newspaper. "But when you buy a DVD you are giving your money to criminals who are in the business of investing in nothing but their greedy souls." The pirate DVD is selling on the streets for less than 50 rand ($9) - commercial DVDs sell for over 200 rand in South Africa. A cinema ticket in South Africa costs up to 38 rand.

Mr Hood confirmed the ending on the DVD was not the same as in the big-screen version. Three different versions were filmed. The DVD was made from a rough edit that was apparently taken illegally from the edit room while editing was still under way. It lacks the full soundtrack and colour grading. "It's a rough mess, so anyone who buys it is getting a poor-quality version," Mr Hood said.


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