General Idi Amin Dada (A Self Portrait)

"Excellent"

General Idi Amin Dada (A Self Portrait) Review


Idi Amin is crazy. Totally insane. He mercilessly overthrew his home government in Uganda in 1971, and yet in 1974 he allowed Barbet Schroeder (who would direct a fictional movie about an equally crazy real-life subject decades later in Reveral of Fortune) into his country to make a documentary about his life and regime.

General Idi Amin Dada (A Self Portrait) is exactly that. Schroeder goes where Amin says and when Amin says, and after the film was finished, Amin demanded a number of cuts that portrayed him in an unsatisfactory light. What leverage did Amin have to make such demands of a Frenchman? Well, he said that if Schroeder didn't make the cuts, he'd possibly kill or maim some 150 French citizens living in Uganda. Sounds a little like Hollywood...

Amin's self-aggrandizement is easily the highlight of the movie, with his candid, no-idea-he's-a-total-lunatic remarks about the appropriate place of women, Jews, and his detractors in the world. One moment he's chatting about the number of alligators. The next he's making threats to his staff. Then he's expaining how he can see into the future, per "the gods' instruction."

Unfortunately you won't learn a lot about Amin's politics in the film. Basically, that's because there are none. Unlike Hitler, who had an agenda, Amin is content with a government that's about no one but himself. He's building up an enormous armed forces -- even a Navy, in land-locked Uganda -- for whatever battles with his neighbors might arise. But meanwhile, his 18 children need tending to. Yes, we ever get to visit with Amin the father. And he's always in uniform.

The craziness gets the Criterion treatment, with Amin's demanded cuts restored (they aren't that horrific -- mostly they involve various voice-overs about various assassinations or disappearances). Schroeder also provides a new interview about the movie and how it came to be. Altogether, it's fascinating.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Himself, as Himself, Golda Meir as Herself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.