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The Last King of Scotland vs Constant Gardener


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#1 gustavius smith

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 10:47 AM

Being a writer/director my favorite part of the movie going experience is discussing it afterwards much to the dismay of my girlfriend.

After watching director Kevin Macdonald and Cinematographers Danny Boyle Anthony Dod Mantle's film The Last King of Scotland ( I belive that cinematographers should be above the line) I proclaimed, "see fiction has nothing on real life" only to learn today that Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan who unveils the sadistic regime of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin doctor in the movie was a fictional character.

For an explanation as to why I was so fooled I will quote incontention.com (http://www.incontent...f_scotland.html)

"What the director does so brilliantly in his first foray into narrative filmmaking is draw upon his instincts as a documentary filmmaker. ?The Last King of Scotland? is not shot like a typical narrative political thriller. The camera wanders frequently to various peculiarities in the scene, typically finding the motion of Amin?s hands, no matter how mundane the gesture. The usage of zooms and erratic camera movement recalls guerilla filmmaking above all else, and it really feels like we are watching true events unfold, not dramatic interpretations of them. Danny Boyle and ?Dogme? regular Anthony Dod Mantle served as cinematographer.

I only watched Constant Gardener this month and I was impressed knocked off my seat. However, despite the fact that the scenes in Africa like in the market and at the clinical trails were not staged the emphasis on great shots and heavy handed post work reminded me that I was watching a fiction based movie. Because I cared about Africa beforehand I did come out feeling like something should be done about the clinical trials but it wasn't really because of the movie.

In comparison, Amin's bedroom was decorated with lion heads, animal furs, in other words designed to look like a lion's den. there were no closeups of the animal heads, furs nothing, it seemed like a natural interior for an African leader in the 70's.

About thirty-45 minutes later when the audience has now learned of Amin's brutal savage ways he summons Garrigan to his office after reading damning international press reports, the camera roams the room with Forest Whitiaker, who plays Amin, as he paces and stomps around like you guessed it, "a raging lion".

As I write this I can't think of a moment in the Constant gardener that brings all of the elements of filmmaking together like that, maybe someone out there can.

Meirelles admited in interviews that he depended heavily on DI work for that movie and maybe that took away from the message in the film. If I want to study a film for color techniques and style I would watch Gardener, if I want to study a film that captures your imagination to the point that you think what you are watching is real and feel for the characters then King of Scotland is the ticket.

The problem for Gardener is that to their credit they wanted to teach me a big lesson about clinical trials in Africa but all I want to learn from it is how to saturate my blues.

Edited by gustavius smith, 02 October 2006 - 10:48 AM.

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#2 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 02:49 PM

I only watched Constant Gardener this month and I was impressed knocked off my seat. However, despite the fact that the scenes in Africa like in the market and at the clinical trails were not staged the emphasis on great shots and heavy handed post work reminded me that I was watching a fiction based movie. Because I cared about Africa beforehand I did come out feeling like something should be done about the clinical trials but it wasn't really because of the movie.


Meirelles admited in interviews that he depended heavily on DI work for that movie and maybe that took away from the message in the film. If I want to study a film for color techniques and style I would watch Gardener, if I want to study a film that captures your imagination to the point that you think what you are watching is real and feel for the characters then King of Scotland is the ticket.

The problem for Gardener is that to their credit they wanted to teach me a big lesson about clinical trials in Africa but all I want to learn from it is how to saturate my blues.


You're being far too kind to 'The Constant Gardener'.
The "big lesson about clinical trials" gets so lost in the cliched conspiracy melodrama and the hyper active editing, which tries to obfuscate the cliched story, line that the clinical trials come off as a maguffin.

However my favorite Idi Amin Dada story is that he disappears for a week.
Apparently he's in the hospital and rumored tom be on his death bed.
In fact he's having a cyst removed from his ass.
The surgery is broadcast live with the Dr.General giving a running commentary.
The LA Time's headline is:
AMIN RECOVERS
EXECUTES SIX

Why do you think they call him dada?
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#3 gustavius smith

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 03:38 PM

You're being far too kind to 'The Constant Gardener'.
The "big lesson about clinical trials" gets so lost in the cliched conspiracy melodrama and the hyper active editing, which tries to obfuscate the cliched story, line that the clinical trials come off as a maguffin.

However my favorite Idi Amin Dada story is that he disappears for a week.
Apparently he's in the hospital and rumored tom be on his death bed.
In fact he's having a cyst removed from his ass.
The surgery is broadcast live with the Dr.General giving a running commentary.
The LA Time's headline is:
AMIN RECOVERS
EXECUTES SIX

Why do you think they call him dada?


I think you are right. I gave it too much credit. i should look to Loach for social realism. It did look good though. I think the same crits were said about City of God.
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Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

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Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

Tai Audio

Glidecam