General Idi Amin Dada

General Idi Amin Dada

A Self Portrait

DVD - 2002
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A terrifying comedy. Along with the surreal pomposities of the notorious ruler, there's the cold-blooded reality of expulsions, disappearamces and executions.
Publisher: [United States], : Home Vision Entertainment, c2002
Branch Call Number: 967.61 A51s
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (90 min.) : sd. & col. ; 4 3/4 in
Additional Contributors: Schroeder, Barbet


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Dec 11, 2015

Made during Amin's nearly decade rule of Uganda, this documentary is a must for anyone who caught Forest Whitaker's award winning performance in "The Last King of Scotland." French director Barbet Schroeder (who later went on to direct features like "Reversal of Fortune" and "Barfly") stays out of the way and lets Amin speak for himself, which he does frequently. So much so that the subtitle of the film is "a self portrait." Amin even contributed accordion music. Amin, with his easy manner, multiple wives, and chubby cheeks, seems like a pretty nice guy until you realize he was responsible for thousands and thousands of deaths. As presented here, he is not so much the banality of evil, but the monotony of evil. He clearly loves to talk and though he's not without charm, his monologues are usually tedious (like when he lectures a room full of doctors) and pedestrian. And you don't really get anybody else's perspective, which may have been a necessity of getting it released in 1974. An interesting time capsule of a country in the grip of a dangerous egomaniac and a good double feature with its fiction counterpart.

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