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In the wake of Borat

There's really only one negative thing about the worldwide success of the Borat film, and that's that Sacha Baron Cohen is probably never going to get away with anything like it again. But that doesn't mean the impact of the film will be limited to that singular release...

This fall Baron Cohen will publish a double book...Borat: Touristic Guidings To Minor Nation of U.S. and A. and Borat: Touristic Guidings To Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. While, without any question, Borat works best in unscripted situations, riffing off the discomfort of his unwitting partners in comedy, I look forward to the book. Sure, it could be a disappointment, but it could also be absolutely hilarious.

But that's not all...Kazakhstan is producing a film in response to the Borat motion picture. This might sound a bit scary, especially as various Kazakhi "representatives" have been vocally negative about the film, but it seems that this is being made with good natured humility and a firm understanding that, well, it was a comedy. And I doubt truly that anyone would ever equate Borat with Kazakhstan in anything more than a humorous sense. Basil Fawlty is not Britain and Homer Simpson is not America.

The makers of this film seem to understand--rightfully--that Borat's publicity could actually be a great thing to happen to the country. With so many eyes around the world turned in on the country, is it better for them to cross their arms and scowl back at us or welcome our curiosity and explain what their lives are really like?

Oddly, though, the article I linked to makes the following claim...

[Borat] won several awards but angered some for its portrayal of Kazakhstan. The movie also poked fun at Americans.

It also poked fun at Americans? Surely that's what the film was doing primarily...

About this entry


I thought too much of the film was staged, but what else could they have done? There's a lot of unscripted deleted scenes on the DVD and they're all as hilarious as ever.

I don't think it's the end of Sacha's antics. If it's true that he's going to do something with the Bruno character I think he can get away with it. Most people just think of Borat now. Only people who've seen the HBO Ali G show will recognise Bruno. If he went into middle America as Bruno no-one would know.

By performingmonkey
May 28, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

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I think it'll be harder to make the Bruno film, surely "fashion" is one of the industries where Baron Cohen will be fairly well known? He'd probably have more luck with a Borat sequel, I'm sure there's plenty more old right wing loonies who've no idea who he is than there are fashion designers. Still, I'll look forward to it, even though I've never thought Bruno was nearly as funny as Borat.

By Michael Lacey
May 28, 2007 @ 5:02 pm

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I'm sure he'd target much more than the fashion world if he did the Bruno film.

By performingmonkey
May 28, 2007 @ 7:42 pm

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Yeah Bruno was a bit shit. Unfortunately a film of that character will be made, it says so.

By s
May 28, 2007 @ 8:42 pm

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Bruno is by quite a distance my least favorite of his characters, but that's mainly due to the fact that I'm not interested at all in seeing fashionistas contradict themselves. (Call me crazy!)

It's far more interesting to me to see that Ali G genuinely reflects a lot of people's ideas of youth culture, and that Borat can go to extremely disturbing lengths without anyone thinking his behavior is out of place for a foreigner. That's entertaining as well as eye-opening.

But the fashion industry doesn't care that it charges thousands of dollars for clothes they admit are shit? Whoopie. Not interested.

That said, Bruno is an extremely good character when he plays against homophobes. Just as Ali G exposed our stereotyped view of youths and Borat exposed our stereotyped views of "outsiders," Bruno could well make for a painfully interesting exploration of general knee-jerk reaction to homosexuality.

After all, a lot of people went out of their way to accomodate Ali G and Borat, despite their absurd behavior. Would anyone do the same for a homosexual? If his past interviews are any indication, the answer is an emphatic no. Bruno is kept at a distance by everyone except fellow homosexuals or fashion designers. Take him out of his element. Put him in middle America. Let's see what happens there.

If the film happens to be fashion-oriented however, yes, it will suck.

By Philip J Reed, VSc
May 28, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

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Basil Fawlty is not Britain and Homer Simpson is not America.

But the important difference is that John Cleese *is* British and the Simpsons *is* made by Americans.

By Andy M
May 29, 2007 @ 10:49 pm

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>But the important difference is that John Cleese *is* British and the Simpsons *is* made by Americans.

Well, that actually only matters if you subscribe to the "it's only okay for you to make fun of something if you are that very thing yourself" mindset.

Which I emphatically do not. And it's not a mindset I think most successful artists would have either.

By Philip J Reed, VSc
May 30, 2007 @ 12:25 am

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Someone stole and reprint this article you wrote!

Just so you know.

By Jonny
March 26, 2008 @ 3:46 pm

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We're technically under a Creative Commons Licence - so people can copy the work provided they attribute the author, and don't use it for commercial purposes.

But to me, that looks like something I've seen before - a blog with no coherent content (the Abput text is still the default!), which just takes text from all over the web. I have NO idea what they hope to achieve with it, unless they're trying to get their Pagerank up before adding a load of spam...

But thanks for the heads up!

By John Hoare
March 26, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

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