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'The Last King of Scotland'
to Screen at UW-Eau Claire March 1-4

RELEASED: Feb. 15, 2007

poster for Last King of ScotlandEAU CLAIRE — "The Last King of Scotland" — a fictional film that casts a light on the horrifically true character of Idi Amin, one of the most brutal military dictators to wield power in post-independence Africa — will be presented March 1-4 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Starring Oscar nominee Forest Whitaker, who has received or been nominated for virtually every Best Actor award there is for his performance, the film will screen at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

Directed by Kevin MacDonald, "The Last King of Scotland" stars James McAvoy as the fictional Nicholas Garrigan, a young Scottish doctor sent on a medical mission to Uganda in 1971. By fluke, Garrigan becomes entangled with one of the world's most barbaric figures: Idi Amin, the newly self-appointed Ugandan president. Impressed by Garrigan's brazen demeanor in a moment of crisis, Amin chooses him as his personal physician and closest confidante. Flattered and fascinated by his new position, the willfully ignorant Garrigan gradually awakens to Amin's savagery — and his own complicity in an eight-year reign of terror that left as many as half a million dead.

"'The Last King of Scotland,' based on Giles Foden's 1998 novel, begins as a comedy and ends up a bad dream, a cautionary tale about the dark corners into which political — and youthful — naivet can lead you," wrote Salon.com's Stephanie Zacharek. "Forest Whitaker doesn't so much play Idi Amin as slip into his skin. He incites dread even as he radiates charm. ... Whitaker's Amin is shaped like a bear, so seemingly harmless with his quaint, rolling walk, his chest puffed out of his general's uniform as if the gold buttons marching down can barely contain his inflated ego. What kind of harm could this rotund, congenial fellow possibly do? Whitaker doesn't shy away from that question, and the answer he gives us is like a bullet to the gut. The character of Nicholas is a fictional one, or, rather, a composite: Foden based him on a number of real people who were part of Amin's inner circle (and who were lucky enough to escape). But Whitaker's Amin is bitterly real."

"From beginning to end, this film is about the monstrous Amin and the way Forest Whitaker has truly channeled him," wrote the Chicago Sun-Times. "This is a must-see film — to witness Whitaker's unbelievable performance, if for no other reason — and there are many of them."

Costarring Kerry Washington and Gillian Anderson, "The Last King of Scotland" runs 123 minutes and is rated R.

Admission is $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff and $1 for UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center, 715-836-3727, in Davies Center's east lobby and at the door.

The film is sponsored by the International Film Society.

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JS/NW

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