(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