June 30, 2008

Movies on Uganda

Since my family is preparing to serve our Lord in Uganda, we are striving to learn as much as we can about this East African country. While much of our research has been through books, several movies have also been very valuable. Would you like to learn a little more about Uganda? Here are some films to check out:

Movies about Idi Amin
Idi Amin was a brutal dictator in Uganda throughout the 1970s. During his time in power, hundreds of thousands of people were murdered. These were dark years for Uganda.

General Idi Amin Dada1) General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait (1974). A french documentary filmed with the full permission of Amin. A rare opportunity to see and hear Amin in his own words. Needless to say, he was not happy with the final result. I would suggest watching this movie after already becoming somewhat knowledgeable of Amin and his reign. Since this documentary came out over 30 years ago while Amin was still in power, it does not set up much historical context. This film is most helpful in getting a deeper understanding of Amin.

Raid on Entebbe2) Raid on Entebbe (1977). A made for TV docu-drama staring Peter Finch, Charles Bronson, and others. Based on the real events of an Israeli military assault on the Entebbe Airport in Uganda, it pretty much sticks to the facts and is enjoyable. As a late '70s TV movie, the quality is limited and the pacing is somewhat slow, but I still found it helpful to watch a reenactment of a Palestinian airplane hijacking involving Uganda and Amin.

The Last King of Scotland3) Last King of Scotland (2006). A recent movie revealing Amin through the lens of his (fictional) personal physician. Forest Whitaker won an Oscar for his portrayal of Idi Amin. This film effectively displays the brutality of the Amin regime, however I found the nudity and sex inappropriate and unnecessary. The violence is also quite graphic at times. As a result, I have to issue a strong caution with this movie.

Movies about the Lord's Resistance Army
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is a rebel guerrilla army at war with the Ugandan government. This conflict has been going on for over 20 years, leaving many dead, villages overrun, and numerous children forced to become soldiers. Mainly operating in northern Uganda, the LRA is led by Joseph Kony.

1) Invisible Children (2006). A documentary made by high school graduates who came across the sad reality of children in Uganda who are trying to avoid becoming child soldiers while living without family as night commuters. My wife and I were both heartbroken after watching this movie. An eye-opener which raises important issues that must be addressed.

War Dance2) War/Dance (2007). A documentary on children in northern Uganda living in a displacement camp who are seeking to win the national music and dance competition. This movie offers an amazing contrast between the horrors of living in the LRA conflict and the hope of winning a major contest. I highly recommend this movie.

Some of these movies are not easy to find, but we were able to take advantage of NetFlix's vast catalog. In any case, these movies will be well worth your time. And if you ever have the chance to check them out, feel free to leave your own comments below.