Articles tagged with: Borat
Editor’s Note: A Polish man who was called “Borat” has won a lawsuit for racial slander, reports neweurasia’s Avicenna. “Since calling somebody ‘Borat’ is now officially qualified as racial abuse, this may become a precedent to others using this downgrading term to Central Asians, in any other region of Great Britain,” he remarks. [Check out the rest of neweurasia's coverage of the ridiculous and otherwise sorry story of "Borat" by clicking here.]
This news made me feel so good: A Polish engineer, who was called Borat at work, has been awarded £2,250 (approximately $3,683) compensation after a tribunal ruled the nickname was racist, reports Daily Mail.
The panel found that Adrian Ruda was “degraded and humiliated” by the nickname given to him by a fellow worker in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Since calling somebody “Borat” is now officially qualified as racial abuse according to a Leeds tribunal, this may become a precedent to others using this downgrading term to Central Asians, in any other region of Great Britain; or even far beyond.
This could be an excellent example for my fellow countrymen sue all those who call them “Borat,” when they hear something like “Ah, you are from Kazakhstan! You are Borat!”
Kazakhstan became familiar to the world in 2006 as a result of the scandalous fictional character “Borat.” The government of Kazakhstan has tried hard to discredit him but, in fact, it’s just promoting him. (Literally, in some cases! Check out neweurasia‘s coverage of this ridiculous story.)
Kazakhstani movie director Erkin Rakishev will produce “a worthy response” to Borat, Lenta.ru reports. The story is about “John,” an American who watched the “Borat” film and decided to check out Kazakhstan himself. While in Kazakhstan he realizes that “everything is not as [bad] as described in the movie.”
“We want to use Borat’s success. By using its popularity in the West, we want to show westerners a real Kazakhstan and not the one created by Sasha Cohen,” Rakishev explained.
According to him a Hollywood company is already interested in it. Work on the movie will start this autumn and it’s slated for screening in Spring 2011.
The show must go on!
Photo (c) by Future Atlas
As covered in this blog and countless others, the government of Kazakhstan’s position on Borat, aka, Sasha Baron Cohen, has been one of theatrical proportions. The embassy even went so far as to state, “[Borat] claims that the Kazakhs are very anti-Semitic people and that running of the Jews is the famous pastime. That is, of course, ridiculous. Kazakhstan has a very vibrant Jewish community,” which, I guess is true if you count the forcible relocation by Stalin of Jews to the Kazakh SSR. But that’s neither here nor there.
The real story is that the government is now thawing and reversing its position on Borat, particularly as tourism rises. A recent article written by Russian journalist Grigory Pasko (RUS, ENG translation here) reflects the growing interest in Kazakhstan even from a Russian perspective. He writes in a half-amazed, half condescending tone about the third part of his trip,
From Russia to Almaty I flew on a half-empty airplane: Russians, apparently, know even without Borat what and how it’s really like there. In Almaty itself I was amazed by two things: the almost complete absence of automobiles produced by VAZ and GAZ [i.e. Russian cars--Trans.], and also the fact that drivers give the right of way to pedestrians (in Moscow this is encountered extremely rarely).
It would be interesting to compare Kazakh tourism numbers in 2007-2009 to those in 2006, the year before the movie came out. As it was, tourism increased by 13% in the second half of 2008 (Russia Today, ENG.) Unfortunately, hard tourism numbers for Kazakhstan are often hard to come by and if at all, are behind gated industry surveys. Of note is the estimate, “Online transactions for air travel are forecast to record double-digit annual growth to 2013.”
Yesterday, May 3, RTL German TV-channel aired Borat movie. And we, people in Switzerland, could also “enjoy” it because the channel airs for our country too. As soon as my daughter saw the movie she exclaimed: “Ohhh, now everybody in my school will laugh at me!”
My wife asked her why she thinks so about just a comedy and how it is connected to her.
My wife didn’t like the movie neither: there were too much immoral scenes, for instance, when Borat washes his face in lavatory pan, takes a pee on the street, runs across the New-York streets with a hen in his hands; when he kisses his sister who is number 4 prostitute in Kazakhstan; when asks serious ladies how to use a toilet paper; when his partner-producer [Azamat] shows his sexual habits, etc. Although, it is not about Uzbekistan, it touches whole Turkic nationality and the whole region of Central Asia.
And then my daughter responded: “Mom, my classmates don’t know about Uzbekistan Read the full story »
Editor’s note: This is a translation of Abdulgamid’s post, which is part of the neweurasia cross-blog survey about humour in Central Asia. In keeping with the subject, the article contains words and phrases that some people may find crude and/or offensive.
“There’s already a sense of wonder in the growing itchiness…”
Sasha Blo in Generation P, Viktor Pelevin
Before relaxing into the entrancing luxury of the sweetly joyful task of deflating this indisputable masterpiece of cinematographic crap (added alliteration), permit me to quote from the most reputable, respectable and elite journal Psychologies (which is now, much to the delight of Russian readers, published in Russian), No. 10, November 2006. Please, evaluate the elegance of the syllables, the beauty of the composition. The note is entitled “A Warm Reception”:
“A small, quiet, cosy place hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the streets in a Moscow courtyard, right in the city centre. A pleasant and relaxing atmosphere, art deco style interior with floral motif on the windows and hand-crafted cutlery. Customers come here not only to enjoy wine and indulge in cheese…
Restaurant “The French Cheese Hole”
Fresh, original, enticing! A hole. A French hole. And not just some sort of chocolate hole, which would, I’m sure you’ll agree, be utterly banal and not half as eclectic. But a cheese hole… What grace, what refinement. It is immediately understood that this is not a place for just anyone, but only for experienced gourmets who can gather together in quiet and secluded place in the very centre of Moscow and in a relaxing art deco atmosphere with floral windows and hand-crafted cutlery not only enjoy wine and indulge in cheese, but also… Read the full story »
I just bought the soundtrack to this film (and I hope this is my last post related to Mr. Cohen, although it seems that this pledge has been made before and not adhered to). It’s hot stuff – like one could already grasp sitting in the theatre and shaking one’s head to the rhythm of the predominantly Balkan beats.
Borat’s geographical confusion, e.g. that the movie’s Kazakhstan scenes were shot in Albania and that he speaks in a gibberish of Eastern European tongues and Jiddish, is well reflected on the soundtrack as well, as it is a who-is-who of Eastern European modern folklore artists.
Der Spiegel has a wonderful article about the soundtrack:
The soundtrack is not only mix of rather traditional material (like Roma singer Usniya Redzepova) with arrangements of Kusturica-composer Goran Bregovic, but it also uses modern Balkan beats of musicians like the Frankfurt-based DJ Shantel or the Ukrainian German Popov aka OMFO.
“Just like Cohen in his movie, I like to use my music to play with cultural stereotypes.” He likes to use keyboards, echoes and other effects to create the tinny sound of restaurant bands in Tashkent.
As you can see above, MTV Germany has already taken up the hype (see video here). The Bucovina Meets Borat Tour featured DJ Shantel, winner of the BBC Club Global World Music Award in 2006. Shantel is one of the main people behind the progressive Essay Recordings. Essay Recordings are the home to some of the soundtrack’s artist, so for example Odessa-born OMFO aka German Popov and of course DJ Shantel.
I also found a Borat look-alike in the video of one of Essay Recording’s newest releases. Boom Pam – Hatul VeHatula, a band from Tel Aviv, produced by DJ Shantel himself:
More music after the jump. Read the full story »
Being multilingual and speaking French, German and Spanish in dubbed films, Borat will not have Russian as one of his languages. The film about the adventures of a Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev was banned for distribution to Russia’s cinemas, as reports The Moscow Times. Apparently, the audience, particularly, certain nationalities and religions can be offended by the film, according to Yury Vasyuchkov, head of the Federal Culture and Cinematography Agency’s department that refused to license the film for distribution to theaters. This is the first non-pornographic film to be banned in Russia, says distributor “20th Century Fox”.
This is an interesting news taking that Kazakhstan itself did not ban the film, and, as the Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman claims, did not ask Russia to do it.
BBC Russian has comments on this news, and some of them are a curious reading. Check these two out:
“Stop advertising him… He has got enough money, good for him! Those who want to watch the film will still do it via Internet… I think it is right to ban it though, Kazakhstan is our good neighbour, we should not make fun of good neighbours. If only Borat made a film about Georgia…”, by [YuryNik], Parma, Italy.
“Respect to Russia for banning the disgusting film. Freedom of one’s fist ends near one’s face, in the same way, artistic freedom does not mean one can insult the whole countries…”, by Rossiski kazha, Texas, USA.
I am only wondering if Uzbekistan will show the film now.
Don’t forget to read James’ review and comment on whether those offended by Sacha Baron Cohen have a point.
Now, Borat is not the President of Kazakhstan, and the nation’s motto is not “High Five”. Readers of the Wikipedia entry might have thought otherwise after some funny individuals vandalised the page earlier today. Editing is now restricted to registered users of Wikipedia. The discussion on the Kazakhstan entry helps putting things together:
How did Borat Sogdiyev and Ivan Drago end up in the official government section of the fact box? Is that a sick joke or something else?
Something is terribly wrong with this Wikipedia page. When I first opened it, the factbox showed Borat as the President and Dolf Lundgren’s Ivan Drago as the Prime Minister. When I refreshed the page, the actual government came up. Someone is having a vulgar fan alternating the information this way…
I saw “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” this weekend. My review is simple: Borat delivers. There isn’t really much more to say. If you have seen any of the shows, you know what to expect; the movie is an hour and a half of the same, but admirably held together with a (relatively) coherent plot. Though hilarious, it is probably a good thing that they kept it relatively short.
If you have been following the media at all, you already know that (most) of the Kazakh government is spitting mad over this film. Perhaps a more interesting question than “was the movie funny” (yes it was) is “do the Kazakhs who are offended by Borat have a point?” Consider the following two sets of arguments, then vote and / or write your own point of view in the comments. These arguments are not necessarily my own; they are a compilation drawn from blog posts, articles, and conversations.
Read the full story »