Last King of Scotland

So I was looking at my blog posts and realized I hadn’t pasted a couple from Word….really dumb. So here goes:

So I wrote this after our discussion in class about the relationship between violence and sound. We were comparing the hook scene with Dr. Garrigan with the scene where the doctor who saved him was shot in the head as well as with the dismembered remains of Kay. The hook scene was a very drawn out torture scene where we are experiencing in some way Nicholas’s pain. The fat that Garrigan does not scream at all during the scene makes the viewer cringe even more because we are experiencing the pain for him. I feel that if they had Garrigan screaming, the scene would not have been as powerful: it would have been a typical violent scene. We did not need the audio in this case: the visual was gruesome enough.

If we look at the head shot scene, there was nothing that signaled to us what was going to happen. The doctor could have easily been let go or beaten up badly. The whole aspect of the scene that made people jump out of their seats, as compared to Garrigan’s gruesome torture, was the fact that we did not know he was going to be shot. I know I definitely jumped and gasped a little, but I eventually got over it. However, Garrigan’s torture sene was hard for me to get over, and the second time we saw it in class, I could not even watch it. 

The scene where Garrigan goes to see Kay’s body: we feel different here only because the scene is bulding up to something we are not prepared for. I feel that the viewer knew something was coming, but what? We knew she was in the hospital but I don’t think we knew she was going to be brutally torn apart and displayed as an example (at least I didn’t realize it). Compared to the hook scene: one we are taken through a drawn out torture scene and the other we are taken through a drawn-out pre-torture scene, making it more gruesome.

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The Last King of Scotland

Like katrina12 said in her post,

“Alphabetical Africa” communicates the power of  those who represent or create representation for a people-group or a place.”

I was thinking about this part of the second chapter N in Alphabetical Africa (p 117)

“Every inch the diplomat, he addresses his end…He knows Africans are easily moved by an emotional appeal…French Consul, after all, is a master at conveying his distress by lifting an eyebrow…”

In The Last King of Scotland, the most striking thing in this movie for me was Amin’s power over people through his speech. It did not matter that what he was saying was not true or just.  The way he said it convinced the listeners to think as he would like them to. For example, in the press conference scene, I couldn’t help but smile as Amin spoke. The way he used language, linking Europe’s disdain for him to the apartheid, the way he inserted humour at the right points in his speech, almost made me believe that  what he was saying (that Uganda was in perfect order, that the people “were driving big cars and eating beef”)  was true, despite what I had been shown in the movie. I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between that paragraph and Idi Amin’s press conference. In the book, that scene is even more peculiar: the French consul is able to communicate the same message to the people despite the loss of a common language (and dictionary as the book puts it). Idi Amin successfully secures public opinion for himself (albeit for a short time) through his power to communicate his views to the relevant people. Amin is a “successful” dictator because he indeed dictates to people: what they should feel about his country in relation to others (in the press conference), the decisions they should make (in making Garrigan stay).

I find that communication and the power to communicate are very striking, because of the close link between communication and representation. The power to communicate effectively, and thus give a specific representation of oneself, ultimately gives one power, as Idi Amin proved (in the movie, and in real life).