This may be the funniest film ever made.
An erudite film critic shouldn’t admit such, should they?
But I learned long ago that I must have my own voice.
I can scour the Earth for every film to which Jean-Luc Godard made reference in Histories(s) du cinéma, but I still must contend with my own personal predilections.
We like stuff because it resonates with us.
For me, the realization was with the Romanian New Wave…and ’80s American comedies 🙂
The serious, austere, heartrending, bleak works of the Romanian New Wave have not been canonized by Godard.
Godard, the man, will (sadly) pass away.
Which is a terrible thought to me.
Because he has made his best films [sic] in his “later” years.
But the Romanian New Wave was “mine”.
I discovered it by accident.
And I dug a little deeper.
I would say about 90% of Romanian film resonates with me in a powerful way.
Almost as much as French film resonates with me.
But then I had to come to term with ’80s American comedies.
These were the things on which I grew up 🙂
And there is no greater joy in my film-viewing experience than to see a film which elicits hyperventilating belly laughs 🙂
And so, Borat [directed brilliantly by Larry Charles].
If Sacha Baron Cohen never again makes a good film, he’s still a genius in my book…based solely on this one masterpiece.
No, it is not Citizen Kane.
But it is something.
Something closer to Cohen’s hero Peter Sellers.
And to the bent mind of Andy Kaufman.
Borat Sagdiyev is the epitome of awkward…once he is placed within American society.
He is from the “backwards” land of Kazakhstan.
[of course, there is a great deal of exaggeration in this film…because such caricature can be quite funny]
The special thing about Borat (and Cohen, working through Borat) is that HE INSULTS EVERYBODY 🙂
Borat very much prefigures the Trump Presidency.
Not to mention the young Trump supporters fond of Pepe the Frog 😉
The idea is, “Lighten the fuck up!”
Laugh a little.
Laugh at yourself.
And, naughty naughty, laugh at what you’re not SUPPOSED to laugh at.
The forbidden subjects of laughter make us laugh the heartiest.
Our conscience kicks in.
We feel BAD about making light of such and such.
But it is a reflex: it just simply is fucking funny 🙂
Nothing is going to take the fun out of this world quicker than those who scrub history, those who censor films, those who impose sensitivity training liberally…
Let’s get nitty-gritty.
Ken Davitian is excellent as Borat’s assistant Azamat Bagatov.
Nothing like having to hairdry the balls of your boss 🙂
[not to mention “back pussy”]
Yes, the humor is SO WRONG.
But, as I overheard two days ago at the video story, white guys still reminisce fondly about Eddie Murphy standup routines.
Not exactly my bag, but I get it.
[and black guys, hispanic guys…Eddie Murphy was very much a “taboo” comedian]
Which brings us to Lenny Bruce.
I love Lenny Bruce.
Guy was messed up.
But he was brave.
So the point is, crude humor is maybe not the smartest…maybe not the best influence on society…but we need a little of it, it seems.
Maybe it’s because we’re all sinners?
I don’t know.
I don’t want to get too theological.
If I was a better Christian, perhaps I would repudiate Borat.
But I simply cannot do that.
And so I’ll keep it brief:
God works in mysterious ways.
I may be wrong.
But this film helps my heart with a laughter unlike any other.