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THE GREAT DICTATOR

USA, 1940 (MIFF 2003, Special Presentations)

Director: Charles Chaplin

"You can say that the allies liberated Europe physically, but with The Great Dictator, Chaplin liberated us spiritually."—Milos Foreman, Academy-Award winning director of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus.

Charlie Chaplin's 1940 anti-Nazi satire The Great Dictator is a bona fide classic, and will be presented at MIFF this year in a new print, rarely screened outside Europe, struck from the original negative and complete with a digitally improved soundtrack. Replete with scenes that have entered cinema lore—the 'floating globe' and final impassioned speech being just two— The Great Dictator is a remarkable achievement in a career full of highlights.

Chaplin plays dual roles, as a Jewish barber and as Adenoid Hynkel, Dictator of Tomania. The barber who served in WWI, awakens from a state of amnesia to find his country under the rule of the tyrannical Hynkel, who is persecuting Jews. Suffering the destruction of his shop, the barber is arrested and sent to a concentration camp.

Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Chaplin, The Great Dictator is both hilarious and haunting, considering the events transpiring in Europe while it was being made. A cultural milestone.

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