Sacha Baron Cohen as Борат Сагдиев (Borat Sagdiyev), oblivious, bigoted, and hapless “Kazakh” TV journalist
New York City to Hollywood, Spring 2005
Film: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Release Date: August 4, 2006
Director: Larry Charles
Costume Designer: Jason Alper
Fewer people are more willing to look foolish in public than Sacha Baron Cohen, so it’s a very fitting tribute that he should follow Will Ferrell for BAMF Style’s annual April Fool’s Day post.
Baron Cohen had long been popular in England and among HBO viewers for his characters of wannabe gangsta Ali G, flamboyant and judgmental Austrian fashionista Brüno, and the pleasantly racist Kazakh TV journalist Borat Sagdiyev. Almost ten years after first introducing a version of Borat on England’s F2F, Borat (or Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan to be more accurate) hit American theaters by storm.
Below the obvious gross-out humor (ugh… hotel fight…), Borat presented an ugly side of America in a strongly satirical light. It’s easy to laugh at the oblivious reporter for blatantly stupid racist opinions, but it becomes harder to laugh when Americans willingly share his ignorance. While some people were antagonized for the sake of comedy, many – a car dealer, a gun shop owner, and a trailer full of frat guys come to mind – showcased their own prejudices. Although it led to a litany of legal issues against the movie, these scenes are important because they force the viewer to realize that only one of the racists on screen is an actor. Continue reading