General Idi Amin Dada (1974)

Genres - History  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Politics & Government  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - France   |   MPAA Rating - NR
  • AllMovie Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Review by Buzz McClain

The commanding presence of the natural actor General Idi Amin Dada dominates every frame of this of-its-time documentary. He is large and forceful, but surprisingly well-spoken, and it's obvious he thinks about things quite a bit. Some of his ideas are dangerous (he smiles approvingly when informing director/interviewer Barbet Schroeder that he knows the Palestinians are training "suicide teams" to terrorize Israel) and simply blue-sky nutty (as when he expresses a desire to teach Swahili to all of the African-Americans in the U.S. so as to foment a secret revolution). It's also very funny to notice that during a swim competition, the burly dictator-for-life miraculously wins against a half-dozen competitors who are much younger and much more svelte. Who wants to beat a guy who could, in the blink of an eye, order your execution for offending him? Not that Amin Dada does anything near that in this "self-portrait" -- there are scenes of military executions without Amin Dada present -- but it's interesting to see that although he has four wives and 18 children, no one in the entire film comes close to him in a friendly manner, chats casually with him, or regards him without obvious fear. The narrative structure barely holds up -- there are long periods of uninteresting material and no inherent drama -- but for those who want to see a despot in action, this offers one-of-a-kind candid insights. Amin Dada's cannibalism, which became a hot topic for a while in the late '70s, isn't addressed.