Writings of the general word's body

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Last King of Scotland

On the left is Andrea Calderwood, producer of the The Last King of Scotland, the new film about Ugandan dictator Idi Amin starring Forest Whitaker. Calderwood spoke at the ICA on January 4 after a special preview showing of the film, describing her experience bringing Giles Foden's book of the same title to the big screen.

The Last King of Scotland had its world premiere at the London Film Festival in October 2006. The film also stars James McAvoy from whose Scottish Doctor's point of view the film unfolds.

By the time I left the ICA and went back into the tube station, huge posters of the film had been plastered all along the walkways.

  • It goes on general release in the UK on Friday 12 January.
  • Its African premiere is in Kampala on 16th February.

The King and I - Giles Foden who wrote the novel The Last King of Scotland from which the film is adapted - discusses his time spent with the film crew on location in Uganda (yes, film crews do not automatically film 'African' locations in SA anymore, so South Africa did not have to double for Uganda in this film, as it doubled for Rwanda in Hotel Rwanda).

Hisham Matar, author of In The Country of Men, also remembers a fleeting childhood encounter with Idi Amin in Tripoli.

  • Images by MW - 4 January 2007


Frank Partisan said...

Seasons Greetings!

I didn't see "the Last King of Scotland" yet. I certainly want to.

Be sure to catch "Blood Diamonds". I loved that movie. Half documentary and half Indiana Jones.

Anonymous said...

The "Last King of Scotland", a hype!

I watched the film's trailer early December and subsequently watched the film in full during the Christmas holidays.And I am not thrilled by it.

The film is about Garrigan-James McAvoy-the stupid, and the somewhat 'self-loathing' Scottish tourist.

With the now historically documented rights abuses that characterised Idi Amin's regime, I imagined "The Last King of Scotland" offering me fresh insights to the cinematical interpretation of aspects of Ugadan under Amin as opposed to those other offerings in say "The Rise and Fall of Idi-Amin" and "Ninety Minutes at Entebbe"! It did not.

Amin was a product of the dubious Anglo-American cold war, foreign policies and the Last King makes no offering on the making of one of Africa's most brutal dictators. And surprisingly, too, he is cinematically dubbed as the last king of Scotland.

I do not see the link between Scotland and Ugandan. Perhaps, "The Last Dictator of Ugadan" would have been an appropriate title. Perhaps.

However, I look forward to its UK release.


Wordsbody said...


Nice to have you round.

"The Last King of Scotland" - is a take on the fact that Idi Amin Dada had a real fascination for Scotland. He wore kilts and once offered to be the king of Scotland (though it may have been tongue in cheek, legend would have us believe he meant it) and help fight for their liberation from the English.

Quite possibly my favourite depiction of Amin is his (minimal) appearance in "Raid on Entebbe" in which he (or the actor who plays him) walks through the airport working his peculiar charm on the hostages. And the way the film tells us Amin said: see you. "Shee you, shee you". A hoot.

'The Last Dictator of Uganda', you say? That would be hopeful, Obemata. There are those who whisper about Museveni, you know - though it's clear he couldn't muster half the menace of one of Idi Amin's fingers.

Maybe he was one of the last grotesque dictators of Africa... and I hope(!) this is not too hopeful an assessment, too.

As for the Entebbe incident, "The Last King of Scotland" stages a more sinister sideshow in the airport lounge - but I won't spoil it for you, so I'll stop here.


Wordsbody said...

Hi Renegade, my bloggadelic friend!

Happy New Year to you too...

I can't wait to see "Blood Diamonds" too. It was bound to happen, once Kanye West did that brilliant 'rewind' of the Shirley Bassey Bond theme song.

"Diamonds Are Forever? Forever? Forever ever?!"

The question mark was forever put on the age-old declaration about diamonds.

Diamonds are getting such a bad press right now that, when I saw the New Year firework spectacular over Sidney harbour on television (with Bassey glorious pipes singing) with the fireworks taking the shape/s of diamonds - I was like, "What were they thinking?"

Riding against the tide on that one, Sidney. Not exactly PC at the moment.

Wordsbody said...

What am I talking about, on 'spoiling the film'? You've seen it.

"Don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it," I meant.

? said...

seems there is a lot for me to catch up here...here is wishing you a great 2007

Anonymous said...

Haven't seen the movie yet, but I look forward to seeing it. I heard Forrest Whitaker's performance was impressive.

Anonymous said...


The Last King of Scotland revisited. And thanks for your comment on the link between Amin and Scotland.

The last Dictator of Ugadan? I was merely cheeky!

Again, it fictionalises history rather than historically dramatising it. And on the latter, I have a problem with the character, Garrigan; a fiction in the Amin's story.

It's a good movie, not fantastically great.

Yes O ! the 'shee you, shee you' exclamation of the fleeing Amin takes me back to the years of yore.

Well, what is more sinister than the lurid Garrigan, trusted by Amin, coverting his patient's third wife, Kay? Here the stereotyping, though subtle, is discerning: African women are hot in their pants!

And three positives: I like the melodious sound tracks; the movie locale, Kampala, especially in the opening scenes and Whitaker.

Importantly, it served a greater lure for viewing, during the holiday, than our own Nollywood.

Be blessed, my sister.