General Idi Amin Dada (Autoportrait) Review

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Ugandan dictator General Idi Amin sanctioned the filming of this selection of interviews and scenes of him 'at work'.


A timely re-release in the wake of Forest Whitaker’s Oscar as Amin in The Last King Of Scotland, this documentary makes a strong companion piece, if offering little context. Filmed by a French camera crew, this was officially sanctioned and has unprecedented access to Amin in council meetings and at home.

Amin is at his most relaxed, and whether waving at elephants or showing off his armed forces he cuts a benign figure, until posed questions he thinks silly. However cheery he is, moments like his ignoring one of his 18 children crying, or the frozen smiles of locals roped into attending one of his functions betray his true nature, begging the question of which is the fiction: Last King, or this official "portrait".

Amin comes across as amiable and friendly but there are tiny glimpses of the man we see later portrayed in 'Last King Of Scotland'.