Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "General Idi Amin Dada" or "General Amin" or "No One Can Run Faster Than a Rifle Bullet" or "O stratigos Amin Dada" )

directed by Barbet Schroeder
France/Switzerland 1974

 

If this mind-boggling documentary about one of the twentieth century’s most reviled dictators were fiction it would be acclaimed as a comic masterpiece… but it is all true. With an ambition the size of Napoleon, Idi Amin considered himself a major leader and revolutionary on the world stage. In reality, his regime was amateurish, disorganised, and his maniacal command both hilarious and bizarre.

Knowing that Amin put at least 300,000 people to death between 1971 and 1979 gives the film a uniquely chilling tone. Through his anti-Semitic rages, fetish for artillery and military power, and the aggression that drifts through almost every speech, Amin attempts to transform himself into a figure of heroic proportions. He awarded himself the title: “His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Dr. Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, King of Scotland, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”.

The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Barbet Schroeder’s General Idi Amin Dada Autoportrait which, amazingly, was made with the full support and participation of Amin himself. Schroeder (Maitresse, Barfly, Single White Female) lets Amin do all the work, and instead of the carefully managed PR piece Amin clearly hoped for, we instead see a preening, vain, psychotic clown who aspires to be Africa’s Hitler.

Excerpt of review from Masters of Cinema located HERE

Theatrical Release: April 5th, 1975 (New York New Directors and New Films Festival)

Reviews                                                                                    More Reviews                                                                                    DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Masters of Cinema (Spine # 45) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Cover

 

  

Distribution

Masters of Cinema

Region 0 - NTSC

Criterion Collection (spine #153)
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:30:30 1:30:49.444
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,943,824,210 bytes

Feature: 27,109,521,408 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.65 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: May 14th, 2007
Keep Case

Chapters 17

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

 

Aspect Ratio:

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,943,824,210 bytes

Feature: 27,109,521,408 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.65 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
Interviews from 2001 (26:43) and 2017 (12:35)  with Schroeder
New interview with journalist and author Andrew Rice about Idi Aminís regime (15:49)
PLUS: An essay by critic J. Hoberman
 

Release Date: December 12th, 2017
Transparent 
Blu-ray Case
 
Chapters:
23

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray November 2017: The Criterion is cited as a "New, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Barbet Schroeder" and is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. Colors shift to being a little more earthy-brown, there is more information in the 1.37:1 frame and the 16mm image (blown-up to 35mm) shows more grain and a higher level of detail. The 1080P is about 7X the bitrate of the SD.

Audio goes linear PCM mono - majority English with optional English subtitles. It's authentically flat but very clear - dialogue accents are difficult at times - but always audible. Music is credited to Idi Amin.

Extras include Interviews with Schroeder from 2001 and 2017 totaling 40-minutesplus a new 1/4 hour interview with journalist and author Andrew Rice about Idi Aminís regime. The package includes a linear notes booklet with an essay by critic J. Hoberman.

The Criterion wins on every front and the documentary is as hypnotic and uncomfortable as ever. In 2003, living in Saudi Arabia, he died from kidney failure. He remains one of the more fascinatingly bizarre and reprehensible figures in the latter half of the 20th century.

***

ON THE DVD: Film: As director Barbet Schroeder says in an interview reproduced with this release, he decided to give control of his film to Amin because, "I thought a self-portrait [would] be self-revealing". Yet, Schroeder could have no idea how self-revealing this film would be. In it Amin does his best to make himself out to be at the vanguard of world leadership; someone who commands the attention of presidents and queens but also possesses both the military and athletic prowess that other world leaders lack. Instead, all that we see is a thuggish buffoon, someone too stupid to realize that the rest of the world is unimpressed with his antics. In this, Schroeder's film can be considered a success, and a fascinating one at that.

Visuals: This looks quite strong considering it is from a 16mm source. The box states that this print has been recently restored, and colors are bright and grain is visible. I can't see it looking much better from the elements used. When we get the Criterion to compare I imagine it will further support this Masters of Cinema release as a very strong SD-DVD representation of the film.

Audio: The Dolby Digital 2.1 soundtrack provides us with a competent rendition of the soundtrack, but as it's mono, don't expect too much out of it.

Extras: Unfortunately there are not any extras with this release, short of one of their renowned booklets. Here we get no original essays, but instead a couple of reproduced pieces and a note on footage exorcised under threat from Amin.

Final Thoughts:  If you're interested in the film, then you won't go wrong in picking this one up, but the original 16mm source doesn't produce the usual visual output you may be used to from MoC. Still, a fascinating viewing experience - one we recommend!

 - Brian Montgomery

 


DVD Menus
 

Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle sample

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Box Cover

 

  

Distribution

Masters of Cinema

Region 0 - NTSC

Criterion Collection (part of spine #153)
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray

 





 

Hit Counter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!