africa: still not a country
I love hearing about African responses to American movies about Africa. There are so many stereotypes and cliches that we aren't even aware of when we watch those movies here, but that Africans immediately notice. The reaction to The Constant Gardner, for example, was far from the positive reviews it got from everyone I know in the states. In Kenya, for example, one of the papers published a long article about how ridiculous the movie was, how it was just another story of a white person coming to save Africa from itself, how it was so distanced from reality. It's stuff like that (and inaccuracies, like all the Nigerians playing Somalis in Black Hawk Down) that make me decide to skip most American movies about Africa.
So it's interesting to hear about Ugandan reactions to The Last King of Scotland. Steve Not the Lawyer and I saw it a couple of weeks ago. If you haven't, I highly recommend it. It's brutal and difficult, but it also looks more like the Africa I know than any other movie I've seen in recent years. Forest Whitaker sounds like an Anglophone East African in the film, and he definitely deserved his Oscar (apparently the Ugandan press agrees). It's a fantastic film. It's not the whole story, but it was filmed on location, and it shows. Maybe efforts like this, to learn the language, the accents, and to actually film in the place are what sets a film about Africa apart. Here's hoping there will be many more to come.