Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Amin: The Rise & Fall

Amin: The Rise & Fall. Directed By Sharad Patel. Starring Joe Olita (1981).
After watching the brilliant Oscar winning contender The Last King Of Scotland with Forrest Whitaker, I had to track down this sleazy grindhouse version starring Joe Olita. In some ways both bizarrely counterbalance each other, nothing however is as frightening as the true story of the Ugandan maniac. 
   In these films, Amin strips off some human steak-um meat and dangles it over his hungry mouth, talking to severed heads in freezers and rationalizing about Deep Throat. The truth is even stranger and more twisted than fiction if you can believe that! I also recommend 1974’s Barbet Schroder documentary General Idi Amin Dada for the genuine article. In that film, the real Amin is very jolly and it gets creepier the more you realize what kind of sadistic butcher he was. 
Taste some of Amin's Homemade Cookies!!!
   The Rise and Fall is numbingly grim and the way Olita portrays the despot is unintentionally funny, especially when he gives off that rye chuckle and calls himself “Big Daddy”. He was a tyrannical madman hellbent on uprooting Uganda by way of death squads and enforcing a mandatory expulsion of all Asians, making him an African nationalist. The film comes off as vague in the historical department, even though they included British journalist Denis Hills who lived in Kampala at the time and was almost killed by a firing squad for his slanderous book called "The White Pumpkin". This film was geared toward the scum of the earth, not text book scholars and made to cash in during 1981, just two years after The Uganda-Tanzania War usurped his reign of terror.
   The Rise & Fall attempts to organize the history of Amin’s progression and though it’s in the Mondo range, it doesn’t recreate what’s not there. Jacopetti/ Prosperi are blatant liars who deceitfully show one thing and fabricate another (think of them as the granddaddies of Foxs News as well as “The Godfathers Of Mondo”). Amin was a admirer of Hitler and patterned his nationalist view of scapegoating Asians as draining the economy on the Nazis. He contracted syphilis early in his youth and never had it treated, resulting in mental decay and acts of frenzied behavior. He could also be very calculating and cruel, during one incident he forced political prisoners to bash in each others brains with sledgehammers. (Many of these accounts are from reality, the storyline in the film is pretty thin)! 

   The film begins with an overly decorated Amin riding around in his golf cart, promoting people to his cabinet and ordering assassinations. Olita is very difficult to understand, but he looks a lot like Amin, that I think they went with appearance instead of comprehensive acting delivery. Olita portrayed Amin again later on in Mississippi Masala.
   Amin appoints a doctor to care for his wife and when he goes to the fridge to get some ice, he almost shits his pants at the sight of two severed heads next to some frozen peas. The pacing is sluggish and there's too much of Amin walking around and meeting diplomats. 27 minutes in he kicks the doctor out (who's having the worse first week ever) and feasts on some human flesh. There's even a scene where Amin visits a witchdoctor to get political advice. 
enjoy these severed heads with a nice pea puree 

   It all ends on a sour note, much like in reality when Amin moved to Saudi Arabia and lived out a comfy life until he died of a heart attack in 2003.

   The director Sharad Patel was the executive producer of the Tom Hanks sex comedy Bachelor Party! I can only imagine going to a grimy theater and watching a triple feature of this, Gunyana-Cult The Damned and Goodbye Uncle Tom! There's no real reason to see this, since they made a better film about Amin with Schroeder's documentary and The Last King Of Scotland (which is what Idi referred to himself as). I know there are certain completist weirdos who have to watch every Charles Manson film also so if you are in that category then go for it and check this one out too!
Ugandan brain surgery 

Shirley Hemphill in a very special role

Move over Shelly Long, I'm taking over Troop Beverley Hills

1 comment:

  1. I know the trailer of this movie freaks me out! I think in one of my old "Look" magazines, there's a picture of Amin hanging out by the pool. It's weird how sometimes these insanely scary people get away with so much real horror.


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