Friday, February 02, 2007

Cinema Verité

Does time heal all wounds? If this article in The Brunei Times is to be believed, the answer is yes.

The movie The Last King of Scotland (a fictionalized semi-biography of the late Idi Amin Dada) is finally coming to a theater near you in Kampala, Uganda. So how are Ugandans reacting to the prospect of seeing their infamous dictator portrayed on film? If the Brunei Times article is to be believed, Ugandans are eager to see the movie. Even though many are too young to remember a reign of terror which left a body count of an estimated 300,000 of their countrymen, it seems many people are entranced by the depth of Forest Whitaker's preparation for the role, especially his adoption of a Ugandan accent and mannerisms.

Older Ugandans are quoted as remembering Amin's tenure as chaotic and frightening, saying that the constant domestic political conflicts and low-to-medium intensity civil war was "terrifying". One man grudgingly gave the devil his due, however, noting that Amin "did a lot for sport in Uganda ... we did well in the Olympics".

Should Forest Whitaker win the Oscar for best actor, I believe it will be the first portrayal of a dictator to win this award (if I'm wrong, please let me know), and having seen the movie, I can agree that Whitaker's performance as Amin does eerily match Idi Amin's own performance in the infinitely creepy documentary General Idi Amin Dada. So maybe method acting doesn't always suck after all.

REMINDER: You have until Monday to vote for the next dictator to receive a top 10 profile!

No comments: