A PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW FOR THE MOVIE ‘TSOTSI’

Tsotsi is a 2005 South African film directed by Gavin Hood. Written by Athol Fugard, the novel was adapted into a movie with the same name. The subject of the movie, which was shot in Johannesburg, South Africa, takes place in this city. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2005, and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.

Tsotsi, who lives in Johannesburg and commits petty crimes, shoots a man in a robbery business one day and while trying to escape, he also shoots a woman whose car he wants to take, but encounters a baby in the backseat. The life of Tsotsi, who took the baby and ran away, will change.’

It is possible to look at the film from many angles, such as child development, the reflections of difficult life conditions on human life, the effects of environment, family and economic conditions on development, the forms of development in all periods and conditions, the negative life conditions that children are exposed to, and their tendency to crime as a result. In this study, a brief evaluation will be presented by making an overview of the film in terms of attachment theories, separation-individuation processes and the psychology of juvenile delinquents.

In human life, the process starting from infancy is carried and experienced in a repetitive mode in every period of life as a concentrated and dynamic source of all relationships. The question of ‘how the events in the early period could have such an important effect on almost everything that followed them’ is one of the fundamental questions of not only psychology and neurobiology, but all sciences. ‘How is it that early experiences, particularly affective experiences with other people, determine and organize structural developmental patterns that are the result of a developing individual’s ever-increasing functional capacities.’ (Schore, 2012: 1)

It is now known that early attachment styles and emotional experiences are effective in the development of emotion repertoire, especially in the right brain and limbic system. (Goleman, 1996: 37, 38; Bowlby, 2012: 158; Kernberg, 2014: 233) Schore expresses this as follows; ‘our personalities are in the right brain, not the left brain.’ (Schore, 2012: 97)

The protagonist of the movie, Tsotsi (meaning vagrant or street thug in South African language) escaped from the chain of traumatized events by turning into a criminal, but later on, the emotional experience of caring for the baby and baby he found in the stolen car took him back to the past, and he underwent a treatment as he confronted his early childhood. The thing that draws our attention is the emotional bond that Tsotsi has with his mother -which, as Bowlby puts it, ‘the bond between mother and child is always present and almost unchanging’- and the mother’s approach to him. (Bowlby, 2012: 102) Although this situation has been shaken and broken by the violence of the father, the child has always carried this bond and interaction (implicitly) within him, and this intense experience is the dominant one that causes him to find the meaning of his life again and get rid of the negative situation he is in. has had an effect. The experience with the mother, which has a central place in emotional memory, has both positive effects and seems to have caused escape and delinquency, which can be considered as a reaction of anger to action, as a reaction to the father’s interruption of this emotional interaction.

The concept of ‘attachment’ has been the subject of scientific research for many years. In addition to numerous experimental studies, it is also one of the most basic behaviors that can be easily observed between ‘mother and baby’ in many living things. According to object relations theorists, this first relationality is reflected in our other relations as a life-long exemplary model. ‘Attachment behavior is any form of behavior in a person that results in gaining or maintaining closeness to another well-known individual who is thought to be better able to cope with the world.’ (Bowlby, 2012: 34)

The effect of attachment behavior on development and its health make separation or separation equally important. But apart from these, the fact that this separation is not a separation but is experienced as a rupture, inspired by the film, causes other pathological disorders. It is known that the sudden loss or separation of a loved one, especially the separation of a young child from his beloved mother figure, often paves the way for the pathological grieving process. (Bowlby, 2012: 66)

With the baby she found in the car, Tsotsi embarks on a repair and repair process, exploring her stalled developmental self. He pays attention to the details in life and tries to recognize and understand his feelings, relationships and most importantly himself. As Jeffrey Magnavita said that if there is a failed maturation, it is necessary to grow, Tsotsi also experiences this experience and process with the baby he finds. For example, when the lady she took to feed the baby asks for the baby’s name, she says her own name, which has not been used by anyone other than her mother until that day.

Tsotsi experiences his own attachment process through the baby and by simultaneously attaching (reflecting) to the baby. Towards the end of the movie, this comes to the fore. By killing his friend who tried to kill the baby’s father, Tsotsi actually makes a reference to and forgives his conflict with his father. Tsotsi, who left her mother and home in the face of her father’s violence, tries to make up for her guilt and lost childhood and the loss of mother & cat bond.

‘..conscious guilt, whether normal or neurotic; associated with guilt. This is usually the appearance of the aggressive behavior brought about by actions towards the lost object, neglect or abandonment, in the form of regret in consciousness. Regret is the driving force behind repair; It is the impulse that reverses the real or imagined aggression towards the lost object in an effort to compensate or remove it. However, beyond compensation, there may also be a multiplying urge to purify at a price through personal change, constructive action, and then an effort to become a “better person”. Regret and guilt are the source of the restorative impulse, as Melanie Klein suggests. (Kernberg, 2014: 287)

At the end of the movie, our hero completes his separation and individuation processes and delivers the baby to his family. It also means taking responsibility and accepting because now he has taken an attitude towards being a social individual and has surrendered to the law. As Mahler points out, ‘The separation-individuation process; It is charged with the dual task of achieving a definite and in some respects lifelong individuality, and of attaining a certain degree of object permanence. Tsotsi also completed this task in his own story, showing ‘clear signs of internalization of the parent’s demands in terms of the self, indicating an extensive restructuring of the ego and superego antecedents beginning to form’. (Mahler, Pine and Bergman, 2012: 140)

Finally, to say a few words in the context of a proposal; primarily to increase personal awareness; We can count on giving importance to training and aid/support activities in order to strengthen empathy skills and to properly address responsibilities for individual development.

you love; If resentment, grievance, and anger are not drowned out and firmly embedded in the mind, trust in other people and belief in one’s own well-being will be like a rock that withstands blows from the environment. A person who has followed his development along such a line will be able to keep those good parents within himself, and find people in the outside world who can represent them in his mind, whose love will be a reliable helper for him when unhappiness arises later on. Through the ability to reverse situations in phantasy, and the ability to identify with others, an important feature of the human mind, one can give others the help and love that one needs, too. In this way, he can provide himself peace and satisfaction. (Klein, 2012: 256)

Individuals who have reached this satisfaction can produce, do and achieve many useful things for themselves, their social environment and the individuals / jobs / options they are responsible for.

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