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  • General Idi Amin Dada - Autoportrait [1974] [DVD]
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General Idi Amin Dada - Autoportrait [1974] [DVD]

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Product details

  • Directors: Barbet Schroeder
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment Ltd
  • DVD Release Date: 14 May 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000O77246
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,770 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


A rare chance to see the real Idi Amin (as portrayed by Forest Whitaker in the Oscar-winning "The Last King of Scotland") in this mind-boggling documentary about one of the twentieth century's most reviled dictators. If it were fiction it would be acclaimed as a comic masterpiece... but it is all true. With an ambition the size of Napoleon, Idi Amin considered himself a major leader and revolutionary on the world stage. In reality, his regime was amateurish, disorganised, and his maniacal command was at once both hilarious and bizarre. Knowing that Amin put at least 300,000 people to death between 1971 and 1979 gives the film a uniquely chilling tone. Through his anti-Semitic rages, fetish for artillery and military power, and the aggression that drifts through almost every speech, this seemingly amiable, thoroughly pompous despot attempts to transform himself into a figure of heroic proportions. Idi Amin gave himself the title: "His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Dr. Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, King of Scotland, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular". Amazingly, General Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait was made with the full support and participation of Amin himself. The Director Barbet Schroeder (Maitresse, Barfly, Single White Female) lets Amin do all the work, and instead of the carefully managed PR piece Amin clearly hoped for, we instead see a preening, vain, psychotic clown who aspires to be Africa's Hitler.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TGillespie on 3 May 2011
Format: DVD
Watching Forest Whitaker's performance as Ugandan military dictator Idi Amin in 2006's slightly disappointing The Last King Of Scotland, and then watching this, Barbet Schroeder's fantastic 1974 documentary about the same man, you have to applaud Whitaker's Oscar winning depiction. He not only grasped the man's sense of humour and desire for approval, but his terrifying ferocity which led to Amin being one of the most loathed and feared rulers in recent history. Yet if ever an Oscar was truly deserved, the Academy should have handed Idi Amin himself the award for Best Actor in 1974. The term 'autoportrait' (self-portrait) is cleverly used in the title, as that is exactly what it is. This might seem like a fly-on-the-wall depiction of a man narrating through his everyday duties, yet the film is very much controlled as much as Kevin Macdonald's fictional film was. Only it's not the director that is calling the shots in this film.

The film is one-half cinema verite and one half an Amin vanity project, and plaudits to Schroeder to let it happen, as it reveals much more about Amin as it would if he had no participation at all, other than in front of the camera. In one scene, Amin arrives by helicopter at a small town and is greeted by a horde of screaming townsfolk, waving flags and clapping in anticipation. However, we are told, the scene has been completely set up for the documentary by Amin. Without repeatedly informing us of the influence he had on the making of the film, and on Schroeder himself, we are allowed to sit back and watch this monster bend and manipulate the truth for his own benefit. He is seen in a meeting with his ministers laying out his ideals and his expectations for his country.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gerald H. Chettleburgh on 13 July 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
interesting and informative film. the documentary technique employed here by schroeder allows amin to expose his murderous yet to some extent fascinating personality without any prompting or covert prodding. for me it remains together with the two documentaries made by mollie dineen, namely hillary hook and london zoo, memorable documentaries of the seventies/eightees period, before reality tv.
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