In the Part 1 yesterday, I wrote about some of the scenes in The Dictator and the apparent links of inspirations that the show got from (see photo above, from left to right) Kim Jong Il, Saddam Hussein, and Gaddafi.
Official advertisements called The Dictator a comedy. And with the main cast as a leader of a fictitious country and with traces of inspirations from political figures, I think The Dictator is better a political comedy.
So The Dictator is both a political satire and political comedy.
Western production teams, like any production teams in the world, have the right to produce any movies, and they all without doubt, aim to ensure that their movies become popular. I think everybody understand this.
But must they draw inspiration from some real political characters?
I think it is inappropriate to draw inspirations from such characters as Gaddafi, Kim Jong Il, and Saddam Hussein to come up with The Dictator.
There are two sides to my views.
First, these real political characters are what some people in the real world call dictators. Oxford Dictionary http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dictator?q=dictators defines a “dictator” as “a ruler with total power over a country”, or “a person who behaves in an autocratic way”.
Gaddafi, Kim Jong Il, and Saddam Hussein are characters who had made headlines for all the negatives – done to their own people, and even other countries. Gaddafi was involved in the Lockerbie case. Kim Jong Il presided over North Korea’s most severe drought. Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds in his country. All of them dealt harshly with dissidents/opponents.
It will not be wrong to say the 3 of them caused sufferings of great scales to their citizens and others.
So is it fit to draw inspirations from such characters to create a political satire/comedy, and aim to roll in as much revenue as possible from the cinema industry?
Maybe the production team finds it not an issue to not consider the feelings and emotions of the peoples of Libya, North Korea and Iraq (if The Dictator airs in these countries, or their citizens watch it on other shores). Maybe they think that to gain more earnings, it is necessary or ethical to build the funny elements of The Dictator by somehow invoking the painful past of some others.
Second, does the production team not take into consideration that characters such as Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein do have their fair share of supporters (as much as detractors)?
Members of Gaddafi’s tribe put up a fierce fight last year to defend his strongholds. Saddam Hussein still retains the supports of some Baath Party elements in Iraq and some of his own Iraqi Sunni Muslims.
So to the production team, it seems not an issue to anger the supporters of such characters. Maybe it is the production team’s way of doing things – as long as it can roll in maximum revenues, it is not an issue even if the show was to anger some people in some parts of the world.
Henceforth, I would not be surprise if some countries maintain some control over the airing of The Dictator or even ban it.
Tajikistan bans The Dictator. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/may/18/tajikistan-bans-dictator-baron-cohen?newsfeed=true
Uzbekistan censored The Dictator by removing parts of it. http://www.uznews.net/news_single.php?lng=en&sub=top&cid=The&nid=19906
Kazakhstan just banned The Dictator after showing it for a while. http://en.tengrinews.kz/cinema_and_music/10444/
For various reasons, these countries (maybe more others) restrict the showings of the movie.
I think there exist yet another reason for some countries to block it. Countries with a conservative base would find it necessary to ban The Dictator. With breasts, penis and pubic showings, coupled with crude jokes, I think it may not go down well for such countries.
As much as I believe it is the right of the production team to draw inspirations from some political characters and craft the main cast in whatever manner it deems fit in order to maximise revenue figures, I also believe it is the right of countries around the world to decide whether or not they want to air The Dictator and apply censorship.
After all, there seems to exist some sensible reasons not to give The Dictator a so good review.
Think: Even as Oxford Dictionary defines a “dictator” as “a ruler with total power over a country”, or “a person who behaves in an autocratic way”, it does not immediately suggest to anyone that a dictator must be bad to the country and its people.
A person with total control over a country and behaves in an autocratic way, can also make good and wise decisions for the country and people. Ever heard of the term “benevolent dictator”?