In 1971, the small African nation of Uganda was taken over by self-styled dictator General Idi Amin Dada, beginning an eight-year reign of terror that would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. In this chilling yet darkly comic documentary, director Barbet Schroeder turns his cameras on the infamous tyrant, revealing the dynamic, charming, and appallingly dangerous man whose fanatical neuroses held an entire nation in their grip. Made with the full support and participation of the infamous dictator, General Idi Amin Dada provides a candid and disturbing portrait of one of the 20th century’s most notorious figures. —The Criterion Collection
Barbet Schroeder’s Swiss geologist father was on assignment in Iran when he was born. After a globe-trotting childhood, Schroeder was educated at the Sorbonne; then, like half the under-30 population of France (or so it seemed), he became a movie critic. Brief jobs as a jazz concert producer and news photographer followed before Schroeder went to work as an assistant for one of his role models, French director Jean-Luc Godard. In 1964, the 22-year-old Schroeder set up his own film production company, Les Films du Losange. Among the many prominent pictures produced by Schroeder include director Eric Rohmer’s “Moral Tales” La Collectioneuse (1966), My Night at Maud’s (1969), and Claire’s Knee (1970). Schroeder himself turned director with 1969’s More, gaining critical attention with several unorthodox documentaries. With the American film Barfly (1987), Schroeder established himself as a prime purveyor of “slice of life” drama — albeit entertaining enough to please the crowd. Oscar nominated… read more
More than enough rope here. Props to the Suicide Revolutionary Jazz Band for grace under pressure; to the doctors of 1970s Uganda, who look like they could use a drink; to Tanzania's President Nyerere for dignity in the face of relentless kookiness, and finally, to the three insufficiently revolutionary wives lucky enough to secure a divorce from Amin. On the other hand, their nightmare surely didn't end there.
Dictators have always been one of my favorite subjects, and watching this movie reminded me why. Amin has an almost hypnotic effect, he comes off as a relaxed and charismatic guy, the type of person that you'd like to sit down and have lunch with that it is hard to remember that he was a tyrannical despot. Really, though, the impression I got out of him at the end was one of an overgrown child. The whole thing seemed to be a game to him. But the look on his face when he gets stood up by the physician is terrifying. Also, where were the crazy Kony 2012 guys when Amin was living out his last days comfortably in Saudi Arabia? Huh?
what a frightening portrait, Amin's such a charismatic man that it's hard to read through the cracks. It's very terrifying to me that I came to some what like this man then I remeber "He killed 100,000's of people!" An eyeopening documentary that looks gorgeous and helps me remember why I fear politics.
Idi Amin is a perfect example case in demonstrating the dangers of unbridled charisma. This documentary, directed by a youthful Barbet Schroeder, is very adept at showing Amin’s friendly, and immensely… read review