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Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his producer leaves their home village in Kazakhstan and comes to the "U.S. and A." to make a documentary for the Kazakh government. Plans go awry when Borat falls in love with Pamela Anderson and decides to travel cross-country to find her. While doing so, he interviews various people.

What I Thought

Hello everyone, it's been a while. No, I haven't been going to the movies recently, I have to save money for a massive assessment our condo is giving us, so no more movies for a while. Except for those extra-special ones like Borat, of course.

And this movie IS extra-special. So special in fact that I debated as to which "voice" to use when writing this review. I toyed with writing a review the way Borat would, or maybe as the Kazakh government, but I figured that given the levels of anti-Semitism, mysognyny, and plain crudeness needed to represent Borat and his world, I'd get fired from my job, and then where would I be?

For Borat is anti-Semitic, misogynistic, crude, rude, and offensive in any way imaginable. Cohen isn't the first to create an extreme character in order to let people's guard down, creating a work both of high (or low) comedy and social commentary. But it is his genius that gives Borat a grounded pleasant humanity and makes him more than a one-dimensional caricature.

For those unfamiliar with Cohen and his HBO's Da Ali G show, he has three characters (a London West-End clueless ghetto idiot Ali G, a very over-the-top and aggressively gay Austrian TV fashion guy Bruno, and Borat). These three characters confront real people and push them to say and do things that sometimes expose their prejudices.

One of the more chilling (and controversial) examples of this on the show is Borat visiting a Southern bar and leading the crowd in the song "Throw the Jew Down the Well". Cohen himself is Jewish and plays on people's stereotypes of Jews (or gays, or women, etc.) and sometimes comes up with horrific results. As he sings his song, people start to JOIN IN on the chorus!! The humor here is that it's both a funny situation (Borat in a bar in the South, with a funny/horrific song) and horror that people are actually singing along.

Writing this, it doesn't sound all that funny. But picture Borat with his bad moustache, his crumpled grey suit, awkward accent, and almost childlike exuberance in meeting people, and it adds up to movie brilliance.

Finally, that nude wrestling fight between Borat and his producer is just absolutely the funniest thing I've seen all year.


All photos and text copyright Ryszard Kilarski, unless otherwise noted. Clip art, drawings, paintings are either free domain or copyrighted by the artists.