10K80 by Bernarda Chiriboga November 3, 2020
After more than 10 years of talks and wait, Sacha Baron Cohen is back with his Borat character. This time, however, having wreaked havoc right before the elections.
“Into possibly the least hilarious year on record, he has come: not the Borat we deserve, maybe, but the one we need right now.”Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
The Borat Subsequent Film was released on Amazon Prime on October 23. This time, Borat, a journalist from Kazakhstan, is instructed by his government to give his daughter as a gift to Mike Pence.
Like the 2006 Oscar-nominated mockumentary, Borat’s journey brings to light nothing that we don’t already know about mainstream America. This time, however, the exposure of both the actor and the character got them through great danger.
The mockumentary could not have come at a better time. Although the last couple of months have already been a reminder of the political and cultural shit show we are facing, the movie proves the point.
Perhaps among the most revealing scenes of all is Rudy Giuliani’s scene. Giuliani is caught on camera putting his hand down his pants in the presence of an actress pretending to be a reporter.
Both Giuliani and Maria Bakalova (playing Borat’s daughter) go to a hotel room, right after an interview. Cohen, who was supervising the scene from the nearest room, rushed into the suit to save Maria before things got uglier.
The former New York City Mayor and personal lawyer to the Cheeto Jesus claim he was “tucking in his shirt down.”
Yet, in an interview with Stephen Colbert, Sacha Baron Cohen responded by saying “Do you have anything to say to Rudy Giuliani about going into a bedroom with supposedly a teenage girl to drink whiskey and zip your pants up and down?”
If this type of behavior is so easily caught on camera and no one does anything about it. There’s no wonder to why America has a president with 26 sexual harassment claims.
Something is off and the Borat mockumentary proves it.
And, for that matter, The Borat proves that creative courage not only bears the greatness of true artistry, but it is what America needs in order to open its eyes to reality.
The mockumentary was caught in the midst of lockdowns while filming. And, as if the virus wasn’t a threat already, Sacha Baron Cohen spent five entire days with two pro-conservatives without breaking character.
“I got lost in the character,” the actor revealed during an Ellen interview.
One of the most talked-about scenes of the movie has been the Conservative Political Action Conference scene.
Where Borat, dressed as Trump in disguise, tries to hand-off his daughter to the vice president while he’s speaking at the event. “I brought the girl for you!” Yells Borat while having Maria Bakalova on his shoulder and interrupting Pence’s speech.
Baron-Cohen, who entered the conference dressed as Klansman, told conference-goers from beneath his white hood “I’m Stephen Miller.” The actor later explained that after that, he took refuge in the bathroom for five hours while he assembled his second disguise.
Still, what is more, shocking about the scene is the way the film lingers on Pence assertion that the Coronavirus outbreak was “under control.”
Unlike the filming of the first movie, which got the actor famously arrested 100 times, the dangers of filming this sequel were arguably much higher. Covid aside, the production happened in the midst of political protests, rallies, and riots.
According to the actor, during the rally in Olympia, the militia that was present had been antagonizing Black Lives Protest nearby. The group had sent some undercover protestors, who realized that it was Cohen on stage as Country Steve.
As word got out one man had even reached for their handgun while the crowd attempted to storm the stage. Cohen later disclaimed that on two separate occasions he had to wear a life vest.
But it is Cohen’s creative courage that makes him not only one of the best actors of all times but also humane activists fighting for human rights. In fact, Borat is one part of Cohen’s Holy Trinity.
Cohen is also famously known for Ali G, A white middle-class boy mangling London Black vernacular. The character is used to satirize the media and politicians.
In 2003 he interviewed Donald Trump and tries to sell him an idea for ice cream gloves. Much like Borat, Cohen is in character while the hopefully-former-president has no idea.
After walking out of the interview in disgust, he said “I thought he was seriously retarded. It was a total con job. But my daughter Ivanka saw it and thought it was very cool.”
And there is also Bruno, an Australian fashion journalist who calls out homophobic attitudes just like Borat calls on xenophobia and anti-Semitism.
If they say that Donald Trump has killed satire, then Sacha Baron Cohen is here to give us hope for an afterlife.
If the four years, a pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and all the ongoing disasters that 2020 has brought on us wasn’t enough for Americans to realize that action is needed, then I hope that the movie will.
What a better way to show the world’s irony and absurdity, than through ridiculing its legitimate behavior with humor and exaggeration.