Thursday, November 02, 2006


On Halloween evening--all thanks to Andi, Hamish and Deirdre--I went to see Borat as part of the CMJ Film Festival (click on that link back there for more info about that). It was the big premiere so he was there to introduce the film and I managed a quick drawing before he disappeared into the deep ocean of promotional appearances he is currently navigating.

I'm not generally a fan of comedy based on turning unwitting participants into punchlines. There is an inherent cruelty in filming people who think they're doing one thing only to find they're being made fun of.


This is a really funny movie and there's something sparklingly intelligent about how Borat zooms in on the hypocrisy of the people targeted. America's being made fun of in this movie and it's working on so many levels that if I were still writing scholarly articles I'd be whipping one out about the levels of cultural identity at play in the humor of Sacha Baran Cohen.

Also, in this age of DVD commentary, blogs, Boxed sets with explanatory essays and 24 hour news and information filled with behind the scene revelations, it's really a joy to have someone who's just doing the work. I mean, how many interviews have you read with Sacha Baron Cohen when he's not playing Borat or Ali G? Does he sit around and say, "oh yeah--funny story when we were shooting that scene, I was really worried that I was going too far, but then blah, blah, blah . . . "


Right now he's playing this character and before he was playing the other character and he's already working on the next character and I imagine that he and ten or so of his friends do hang out and have some really good laughs about what it takes to do the work, but for the rest of us, we just get to see the magic and not the thought-process.

You can do that when the work speaks for itself, but it's been a while since someone has trusted their work so much that they defy every convention of the "Behind-the-scenes" marketing black-hole and just do it.

I'd talk about that in my thesis if I was writing one.


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