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General Idi Amin Dada (1974)
"Général Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait" (original title)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,112 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 34 critic

A documentary on the military dictator of Africa's Uganda.

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Title: General Idi Amin Dada (1974)

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Idi Amin ...
Himself
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Storyline

Uganda's dictator, General Idi Amin Dada, accepts a foreign crew's request to interview and film him. He talks to the camera about his outreach to Arab nations, his goal of eradicating Israel, his views on economic policy, and his views of Nixon, Kissinger, and other world leaders. We also see him dressing down his ministers at a cabinet meeting (two weeks after this meeting, the foreign minister, whom Amin criticizes here, is murdered), supervising a war-game simulation of an invasion of Israel, visiting a village, and addressing a conclave of Ugandan physicians. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

30 August 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

General Idi Amin Dada  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Idi Amin: I come from a very poor family. I wanted to tell you this.
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Connections

Referenced in Cannibal Holocaust (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Worths as a historical reference and nothing more
2 August 2011 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

The documentary "Général Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait" directed by Barbet Schroeder ("Murder by Numbers" and "The Reversal of Fortune") presents us the self-portrait of one of the most mindless dictators ever existed, the megalomaniac Idi Amin Dada, Uganda leader from 1971 to 1979. Self-portraits are dangerous in the measure that the audience will only get what the portrayed wants to reveal about himself, which is his good side, after all who wants to show his own bad temper and mean deeds to the world?

It would be a funny picture, since most of the time Dada appears to camera always smiling, joking around about anything (the 'Save the British' fund with Uganda donations destined to England's poor economy at the time was hilarious), if we weren't forced to remember who the man on the screen is and why he's not funny. He might not appear as the cannibal some say he was, or the man who commanded the murder of thousands of people (the film only mentions the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was alive during the making of the film, a voice over explain he was killed two weeks later, presumably because he wasn't effective in his duty), he might not appear as a bad man at all but we can sense his craziness, the absurd in the things he exposes or even in his fight against Israel. The guy is nuts and it was unbelievable someone like him had the chance to be the leader of a nation. But that's what power makes with people, it makes them greedy, blind to other peoples problems, it makes them unreasonable. And he was all that!

The film doesn't add anything interesting but it's not Schroeder's fault, it's Dada's own fault this being something almost irrelevant. He controlled everything, he wanted to present his tender moments with his 18 sons, or his Discovery Channel moments where the crocodiles and a elephant pay tribute to the man (so he thinks that's what the animals are doing). And politically speaking this man and the film have nothing good to say except a enormous contradiction when Idi says he likes Nixon but hates Kissinger, both part of U.S. government. The guy didn't had a clue of what he was saying, making his presence here something laughable rather than a dignifying portrait of his legacy, and he could have made so much more for his country.

It's good for historical references, it has its importance, quite good to watch but that's it. The man illustrated here was so light, so funny and so friendly that Forest Whitaker's Oscar winning performance in "The Last King of Scotland" was more terrifying and more realistic than Dada himself. 6/10


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