Today in history… April 11, 1979, Idi Amin Dada, the military dictator and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979, was deposed, as rebels in exile backed by Tanzanian forces, seized control of the country. Several hundred thousand people are believed to have been killed during his brutal 8 year regime.
Amin died August 16th, 2003, in Saudi Arabia, where he’d been living in exile since 1979, when he was overthrown.
As far as onscreen depictions of Amin, many of you are likely most familiar with Forest Whitaker’s interpretation of Amin in the 2006 film, “The Last King of Scotland,” for which he earned an Academy Award.
But if we may instead/also direct your attention to director Barbet Schroeder’s must-see 1974 documentary on Amin, titled simply “General Idi Amin Dada,” made while the brutal dictator was still very much at the height of his power.
Schroeder was given unprecedented access to Amin, who was actually influential in the making of the film, but it’s far from propaganda material.
It’s worth reading up on how the project came together. On the Criterion blog, you’ll find an essay on the subject which you can read here, before (or after) you watch the full 90-minute documentary, which is embedded below: