November 23, 2006

Borat, the Film

Borat, from the Glorious Republic of KazakhstanYesterday night I saw this film the posters of which are really all over the city. After the initial hilarity and dicks-and-prostitute-laughter, I stayed behind with only one burning question, that kept me thinking through the night and into today.

Is this all fiction, or is it real? Or is it a mixture of the two, and if so, which parts have just been written like a screenplay. Just to clarify myself for the less comprehending reader. I do off course know Borat is actually a British Jewish guy and all, and that the parts in Kazakhstan are in fact filmed in Romania, but…

- does Borat really go out in the arena to pervert the US national anthem?
- does he really invite a hooker to a dinner party, or is even this dinner party fake?
- ...etc. etc. etc.

Some people might say that it doesn´t matter very much, but it changes the whole significance of the film! If most of these parts are real, than it gives an interesting look at the inner workings of the USA. If not, than what the hell (if anything at all) is Baron Cohen trying to show?

- 15 comments by 1 or more people

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  1. Apparently, the arena scene is genuine, except his line ‘Let George Bus drink the blood of every Iraqi man, woman and child’ didn’t actually get a cheer from the crowd (despite it doing so in the film). The TV interview is genuine too, as is the scene with the frat boys

    As far as I know, the majority of the rest of the film is for real, however I’m dubious about whether the Pamela Anderson scene is real – it seems a little too far fetched for them to have got away with it!

    23 Nov 2006, 20:03

  2. Hehe, you’re quite informed on this matter! Yeah, I was wondering about that Pamela Anderson scene as well, reckoned he must have been quite perseverant to manage following her in the bookshop and after that outside.

    Anyway, if this mixture of manipulation and truth is as mixed as you say it is (eg the anthem scene), then what else is his goal than to confuse people just for the heck of it?

    sigh And I am confused about this film.

    23 Nov 2006, 21:29

  3. Some of it must have been staged – like the Pamela Anderson bit. Otherwise I can’t see how he didn’t get shot, or similar. And I doubt they would have allowed the camera.
    There was a hell of a lot of editing, like when he says that about Bush drinking blood – the camera cuts away to the crowd and their reaction. Also the bear in the van – kids run up, bear roars, kids run away.
    It doesn’t matter though, because it’s b*stard funny.

    23 Nov 2006, 23:39

  4. Ah, I just read that Kazakhstan’s president has drastically changed his approach to tackling the affaire-Borat. He is said to have loved the film, claiming it might be the best kind of promotion for his country. I guess he’s right if he means Kazakstan’s suddenly enjoying some attention in the international scene?!

    24 Nov 2006, 14:23

  5. anton

    to be honest, it’s hard to say if there’s any significance behind Borat’s message. if he’s trying to show how backwards Kazakhstan is, then he’s sort of trying to discover America – we all know that Kazakhstan is behind any Western country by its development, no need to re-affirm! if he’s trying to show how stupid Americans are, then my question is as opposed to what are they stupid? they are no dumber than the Kazakhs the way he portrays them. well, we all know that any rural placce has its dumbasses, be it U.S., France or D.R. Congo. again, no significance here.
    i take this movie as a nice peace of slap-stick humor, but nothing more than that.

    p.s. the rodeo shot is real – heard of someone who had been there.

    26 Nov 2006, 08:07

  6. But Anton, do you mean the part where he sings the anthem? Are you sure all of that’s real? Gavin (see above) wrote that the people didnt actually applaud when he wished that Bush may drink the blood of all the Iraqi people. Both ways seem plausible to me, after all, as someone once said to me: never underestimate the power of one dumb person in a big crowd.

    26 Nov 2006, 17:23

  7. Dave

    Pamela Anderson is in the credits so she was in on it.

    26 Nov 2006, 19:03

  8. It’s quite obvious that almost all of it is staged, unlike most of the television series of Borat.
    I don’t think the interviews with the feminists and the humor coach are staged. The rest of it is.

    26 Nov 2006, 23:23

  9. Hey I made it to the top of the list with this post?! Losing the raw and edgy undergroundness of my blog?! Nah probably just because Im responding to my own posts all the time :)

    27 Nov 2006, 10:56

  10. Greg

    I heard that the students on the road trip which he joins are suing him because he hadn’t told them at the time when he filmed it that it was going to be broadcast as a film to be shown in cinemas.

    I can hardly see the point of them suing him – it’s not as if he was taking the piss out of them or anything, whereas there was far worse than that in the film – I guess they’re probably just doing if for the money.

    27 Nov 2006, 19:05

  11. I thought it was pretty funny but doesn’t really stand up to close analysis. Then again, is it even meant to?
    For example, much has been made of anti-semitism in the film but whose anti-semitism is it showing up? Other than the frat boys, no-one actually appears to exhibit anti-semitism other than being in the room when Borat is anti-semetic and given the rapidity of the editing it’s hard to tell whether it’s anti-semetic by complicity. Therefore, it is not particularly highlighting American anti-semiticism (except for stupid drunk kids) and given SB-C’s admitted ignorance of Kazakhstan, the Kazakhs can’t be the target. So in the end, it’s just a Jewish comedian making Jewish gags – a bit like Woody Allen pumped full of amphetamines.

    28 Nov 2006, 17:20

  12. Yeeees, I like your analysis….. is niiiiiiice!!!! I liiiiike.

    28 Nov 2006, 19:10

  13. anton

    Maarten: the rodeo is, know a girl who was there and saw it all happening this summer!

    28 Nov 2006, 20:01

  14. David Metcalfe

    What does everyone think of this video clip of Borat? :P

    29 Nov 2006, 09:04

  15. So the score so far: the rodeo part is real/almost completely real; the camper car bit is real; the feminist bit is real; the humor coach is probably real.

    What about the driving lesson, the dinner club and Borat “meeting” people in the streets of NYC?

    29 Nov 2006, 12:40

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