Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Review Of The First Seventeen Minutes Of The Film “Borak”

(Reprinted without permission from the Traverse City Sentinel, Traverse City, MI.)

A couple weeks ago, I was leafing through the newspaper when I noticed that an interesting-sounding foreign film was playing at The Traverse City Film Festival this year. The film, called "Borak: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," was supposed to be a documentary made by a Kazakh journalist about his experiences in America.

It sounded pretty good to me, so I found a sitter for the poodles, and Rosemary and I headed off to the film festival. Right away, I knew there was going to be trouble. The film starts out with Borak passionately kissing his sister, who he says is a famous prostitute in his country. Then he introduces his neighbor, who is a rapist, and his wife, who he describes as "ugly."

Truthfully, after only about five minutes, I didn’t know how much more I could stand of this man. But Rosemary doesn’t get to go out very much since her back surgery, and we had already paid the sitter, so I thought I would give the film one more chance.

That is when things really got ugly.

In the movie, Borak decides he needs a gun for some reason, so he goes to a gun store, and asks the owner what kind of gun he will need to kill a Jew! As a longtime member of Jews For Jesus, I just couldn’t sit there and watch this man denigrate my chosen religion.

The worst part was that many people in the audience were laughing at this. I guess they were a particularly mean crowd or something. In any case, after only 17 minutes, I told Rosemary we had had enough! So this evening wasn't a total loss, we got back in the mini-van, and decided to spend the rest of the night at the A & W drive-in instead talking and drinking milkshakes like we did back when we were dating.

20th Century Fox should be ashamed of themselves. I don’t know how any major company could condone this type of racism and sexism in a film. Rosemary and I rarely go out to the movies anymore, because most of them feature things we’d rather not see, like drug use and promiscuous sexual behavior. But "Borak" is in a class by itself.

Any film that advocates putting women in cages and raping animals is not going to score many points with me. For some reason, the audience seemed to be enjoying this type of entertainment, but as for Rosemary and I, we’d rather stay home with the dogs from now on if this is the kind of filth and degradation that passes for cinema these days.

--Jim Buggens, reporting for the Traverse City Sentinel


Anonymous said...

Dude the movie is a freaking comedy. Its made by a man named Sacha Baren Cohen, and is fake, he doesn't do anything like this. Its just a persona he has.

Anonymous said...

I just happened to stumble on your blog and checked your review... it is well written, but there is something critical you missed out on about this particular movie...What you apparently didn't know about "Borat" is that this character (created and played by Sasha Baron Cohen who is, in fact, Jewish, a human rights activist, former English journalist and creator of the HBO "Da Ali G Show" a reality comedy series where he plays several different characters (one of which is Borat). Sasha would dress up as Borat, go into a real interview situation pretending to be a sexist, anti-jewish Kazahk backwoods reporter. The comedy came from actual people's reactions to his (fake) antisemitsm and sexism, sometimes shocking them (like when he went to a dating service looking for a wife that would be good to beat,) or exposing their own predjudices (like when he got an entire dive bar in Arizona to sing a racist song with about "throwing Jews down a well" while they laughed and cheered.)
The point of the comedy is not that it is funny to beat women or be racist, but instead gauging the reactions of unsuspecting people to his fake sexism and racism. Some find it horrible and shocking, and some expose themselves to be racist in agreeing with him. It does not condone sexism or racism, but instead pounts how how ridiculous it is, and the entire movie is a satire. Borat was a world famous character long before this movie came out, which is why the rest of the theater (who already knew the backstory) was laughing and you weren't. I suggest you rent "Da ALi G Show" on DVD and watch some it, and you will get the joke. It is actually a brilliant case study (done as comedy) of people's sociological response to racism and sexism and is not meant to condone it at all.

Anonymous said...

Wait so what you are saying is everything in movies is not real? E.T. wasn't a real alien? Lloyd Dobler and Diane Cort aren't living happily together in Germany? Next you are going to tell me the little mermaid did not get legs and marry the prince.

Anonymous said...

This blog is obviously parody you fools.

Anonymous said...

Or "Parity" as in the posters last name!

Anonymous said...

You've all been hornswaggled. The post itself is a Borat. There is no Traverse City Sentinel. The poster obviously wanted to see everyone leap to the wrong conclusion about a fake review.

Raf Mertens said...

Borat is just playing an idiot, he isn’t a racist.
If you see this video, you could say he IS
But Borat is a jew himself, so what are the people making problems about?

Anonymous said...

Being a jew can't make you a racist that dislikes blacks and asians?