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Women In The Last King Of Scotland

900 words - 4 pages

The Last King of Scotland, directed by Kevin MacDonald and based on the novel of the same name by Giles Foden, shapes events from the reign of notorious Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker) into a dramatic and attention-grabbing narrative. However, the film, which was praised by critics and garnered a Best Actor win for Whitaker at the Academy Awards, focuses far too much on “sexual conquests of a young white doctor who heads to Uganda in search of adventure” (Leader). By blending together real people in order to create artificial romantic subplots, it not only skates over fascinating historical detail, but also fails to portray any women as nuanced or developed characters. Rather ...view middle of the document...

She, along with a bevy of other scantily clad women, are the focus of multiple loving close ups, the camera leisurely drifting across their bare chests as they gyrate on screen (68:02). Of the two married women, only one manages to rebuff Garrigan’s persistent advances: Sarah Merrit, the wife of the doctor who originally hires Garrigan to work at his Ugandan clinic. However, as soon as she fends off his wandering hands and forceful kiss (21:06), she disappears from the film, briefly appearing only once more in the film’s 90 remaining minutes.
The other married object of desire is Kay Amin, the dictator’s third wife. She represents the other role which the filmmakers have assigned their female characters, that of the mother. From her first introduction, the focus is on her childbearing potential. As Idi Amin introduces his three wives, the camera pans to the faces of the men, since they have far more value to the film than Amin’s harem. Along with their names, Amin announces the number of children they have “given” him (29:20). Kay’s dearth of children is explained in her next scene, when she is shown weeping helplessly over her epileptic son. As Garrigan steps in to stop the child’s seizure, he is captured by a low-angle shot, made to appear commanding and wise. Meanwhile, Kay is shot from above (44:06) as she begs, portrayed as a weak victim of fate. Kay’s worth is measured by her ability to provide Idi Amin with healthy offspring. Because her son is ill, she and her children must be sequestered, her shame hidden from the public eye....

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