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Learning English - Words in the News
26 February, 2007 - Published 17:55 GMT
African Film Festival reaction to Oscar
He played the role of the late Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, in the film "The Last King of Scotland"
Forest Whitaker wins the Oscar for best actor

Forest Whittaker has won the Oscar for best actor for playing the former Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin. But the film, 'The Last King of Scotland', and others with an African theme are not considered representative of African cinema by many at Fespaco, the African Film Festival. James Copnall reports from Ouagadougou, Burkino Faso's capital:

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Forest Whittaker's portrayal of Idi Amin has been hailed as a masterpiece but many African directors are groaning at what they see as another negative Hollywood film about Africa. 'The Last King of Scotland' was shot in Uganda but the money, script and main stars were western. The film is about one of Africa's worst ever dictators. The Nigerian director Mahmoud Ali Balugan believes 'the Last King of Scotland' follows a typical pattern.

Mahmoud Ali Balugan:

Hollywood is not being fair to Africa. Most of the films they've taken out of Africa have been negative films, films portraying Africa in a bad light. There are so many positive things about Africa that Hollywood could have latched onto and even attempts when they've taken African stories that are positive, they still manage to inject some negative things about Africa.

'The Last King of Scotland' will be shown at Fespaco but it has no chance of winning the main prize. The Nnengo stallion, as the award for the best feature film is known, is open only to African films. Hundreds of movies will be shown during Fespaco, the majority made by African directors. The festival is vital for the continent's film makers since their work is often not widely shown around the world. One of the major themes of this year's festival is Africa's tortured relationship with the west, with several films making a strong case that Africa continues to be exploited.

James Copnall, BBC News, Burkino Faso

Listen to the words

portrayal of
representation of, acting as

publicly praised as important and successful

making a noise which shows disapproval of, disappointment in or disagreement with something

a written version of what happens and what is said by the actors in a film or play, for example

leaders who always try to keep complete control and power over the countries that they rule

in a bad light
in a negative way

latched onto
shown an interest in, used as a topic for a film

major themes
main subjects, important topics

very difficult, painful, damaging, punishing

used unfairly, here, giving very little to Africa in return

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