Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Documentary: "A day in the life of a dictator"

Directed by Hendrick Dusollier, "A Day in the Life of a Dictator" investigates the mentality of three tyrannical leaders during periods of time that defined their reigns. The trio of dictators - Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin Dada and Muammar Gaddafi – reincarnate through intense accounts from historians and witnesses, stock footage, and creative photo-realistic replications of the leaders as they function hour-by-hour through each tumultuous event.

"Once he decided to attain absolute power, he would never relinquish it," observes Alexandre Allilouiev, nephew of Joseph Stalin. "He was a monster." In order to achieve his goals, Stalin set about re-imaging the vast empire in his own image, which included the extermination of all those who dared oppose or refused to adhere to his ideology. The film follows the activities of Stalin on November 24, 1938 - a crucial day that set in motion the end of his Great Purge.

Muammar Gaddafi is shown rising from his bed the morning of June 28, 1996. A man driven and destroyed by an insatiable need for wealth and excess, Gaddafi lies in dreadful hiding from those who seek to end his unspeakably ruthless reign. 

"People were scared of him, and also he was scared of the people," says Babby Salamshyda of her father, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada. One of the people who provoked Amin's fear was a member of his own family who planned to overthrow him. The film dramatizes the events of March 26, 1974, when Amin set in motion a plan to quell this familial threat.

Each dictator is portrayed by an extensive thirst for absolute power, a distressing paranoia of their own people, and a willingness to commit the most staring acts of violence when their supremacy is threatened. Stunning in its ability to place these horrific dictatorships in a human context, "A Day in the Life of a Dictator" is a unique and vital living history.

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