Borat (2006)

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

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Director:Larry Charles

Writers (WGA):Sacha Baron Cohen (screenplay) &

Anthony Hines (screenplay) ...

Release Date: 30 March 2007 (India) more

Genre:Comedy more

Tagline: Come to Kazakhstan, It's Nice!

Plot: Kazakh TV talking head Borat is dispatched to the United States to report on the greatest country in the world. With a documentary crew in tow, Borat becomes more interested in locating and marrying Pamela Anderson. full summary | full synopsis

Awards: Nominated for Oscar. Another 11 wins & 12 nominations


Borat and Azamat meet with the fictitious Kazakh Ministry of Information, which commissions them to make a documentary.

Borat Sagdiyev (played by Sacha Baron Cohen), a popular Kazakh television personality, leaves his homeland of Kazakhstan for the "Greatest Country in the World," the "US and A" to make a documentary film at the behest of the fictitious Kazakh Ministry of Information. He leaves behind his mother, his wife, Oxana, and the town rapist, and brings along his producer Azamat Bagatov (played by Ken Davitian), and his pet chicken, Buh-Kaw. Much of the movie features unscripted vignettes of Borat interviewing and interacting with Americans, who believe he is a foreigner with little or no understanding of American customs.[4]

While in New York, he sees an episode of Baywatch on television and immediately falls in love with Pamela Anderson. While interviewing a panel of feminists, he learns her name and that she lives in California. Borat is informed via telegram that his violent wife has been violated and killed by a bear. Delighted by the news, he secretly resolves to go to California to make Anderson his new wife. Borat and Azamat were supposed to remain in New York, but Borat justifies the trip to California by telling his skeptical producer that "Pearl Harbor is there. So is Texas." Because Azamat is afraid of a repetition of the September 11, 2001 attacks, which he believes were the work of the Jews, he will not fly there, so Borat takes driving lessons and buys a dilapidated ice-cream truck for the journey.

During the cross-country trip, Borat acquires a Baywatch television show booklet at a yard sale, and continues gathering footage for his documentary. He meets gay pride parade participants, politicians (including Alan Keyes and Bob Barr) and African American youths playing cee-lo. He is also interviewed on live television and proceeds to disrupt the weather report. Visiting a rodeo, Borat, after first exciting the crowd with jingoistic, pro-U.S. remarks, sings a fictional Kazakhstan national anthem to the tune of "The Star-Spangled Banner", which receives a strong negative reaction. Staying at a bed-and-breakfast, Borat and his producer are stunned to learn their hosts are Jewish. Fearful of death ("or worse") at the hands of their hosts, the two "escape" after throwing money toward cockroaches, believing they are their Jewish hosts self-transformed. While Azamat advises a return to New York (where, he believes, "at least there are no Jews"), Borat attempts to purchase a handgun to defend himself against Jews. When told he cannot buy a gun because he is not an American citizen, Borat purchases a bear (which he names after his late wife) for protection.

Borat later attends a private dinner at an eating club in the South, at which he (unintentionally) insults or otherwise offends the other guests, and visits an antique shop with a display of Confederate heritage items, breaking glass and crockery.

The journey is interrupted when Borat, just out of the bathtub, exits the bathroom of his hotel room and sees Azamat masturbating over a picture of Pamela Anderson in the Baywatch book. Borat becomes enraged and reveals his real motive for traveling to California. Azamat becomes livid at Borat's deception, and the situation escalates into a fully nude brawl, with what have been described as having homoerotic undertones,[5] which spills out into the hallway, a crowded elevator, and ultimately into a packed convention ballroom. The two are finally separated by security guards.

As a result, Azamat abandons Borat, taking his passport, all of their money, and their bear, whose head is later seen inside Azamat's motel refrigerator. Borat begins to hitchhike to California, but is soon picked up by Anthony, Justin, and David, drunken fraternity brothers from the University of South Carolina. On learning the reason for his trip, they show him the Pam and Tommy sex video, revealing that she is not the virgin he thought she was. After leaving the three students, Borat becomes despondent, burning the Baywatch booklet and, by mistake, his return ticket to Kazakhstan. He regains his faith after attending a United Pentecostal camp meeting, at which Republican U.S. Representative Chip Pickering and Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice James W. Smith, Jr. are present. He learns to forgive Azamat and Pamela. He accompanies church members on a bus to Los Angeles and disembarks to find Azamat dressed as Oliver Hardy (though Borat thinks that he is dressed as Adolf Hitler). The two reconcile and Azamat tells Borat where to find Pamela Anderson.

Borat finally comes face-to-face with Anderson at a book signing at a Virgin Megastore. After showing Anderson his "traditional marriage sack," Borat pursues her throughout the store in an attempt to abduct her until he is tackled and handcuffed by security guards. Afterwards, Borat seeks out and marries a prostitute named Luenell, whom he had befriended earlier in the film, and returns to Kazakhstan with her. The final scene shows the changes that Borat's observations in America have brought to his village, including the apparent conversion of the people to Christianity (the Kazakh version of which includes crucifixion of Jews) and the introduction of computer-based technology, such as iPods, laptop computers and a high-definition, LCD television.


Baron Cohen, in character as Borat, at the Cologne premiere of the film.

Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat Sagdiyev: Borat is a fictional journalist from Kazakhstan, distinguished by exaggeratedly strong misogyny, anti-Semitism and antiziganism, which is depicted as apparently the norm in his homeland. Borat was originally created as a character for Da Ali G Show and appeared in every episode of the show.

Ken Davitian as Azamat Bagatov: The producer of Borat's documentary. Azamat was a new character created for the film. Davitian, as "The fat guy from Borat", was included at number two on a list of "The 100 Unsexiest Men" by the Boston Phoenix.[6]

Pamela Anderson

Luenell as Luenell the prostitute: Luenell is first seen when Borat calls her to come to the Southern dinner, the climax of his effective destruction of the event.

Pamela Anderson as herself: Pamela Anderson plays a central role in the film as the reason for the journalist's cross country journey. She also appears in person at the end of the film, in a botched abduction attempt by Borat for cultural "marriage".[7]

[edit]Deleted scenes

The DVD included several deleted scenes from the film, including Borat being questioned by police at a traffic stop, visiting an animal shelter to get a dog to protect him from Jews, getting a massage at a hotel, and visiting an American doctor. There is also a montage of scenes cut from the film, including Borat taking a job at Krystal and taking part in a Civil War reenactment. The deleted-scenes menu also includes an intentionally tedious supermarket sequence with an unusually patient supermarket owner (Borat repeatedly asks about each product in the cheese section of the store and the owner responds the same way: "Cheese"), an actual local TV news report about Borat's rodeo singing, and a final "happy ending" scene about Borat appearing in a Kazakh show entitled "Sexydrownwatch', a Baywatch clone which also starred Azamat, Lunell, and Alexandra Paul.

A scene in which Borat was apparently imprisoned was also filmed, but was removed under the threat of legal action by prison officials when they learned the "documentary" was, in fact, a satire.[8] The scene was allegedly leaked to YouTube[citation needed], but was not released on DVD.

One of the film's writers, Dan Mazer, confirmed, in an interview, that there was a scene filmed, but cut, in which Borat took part in the shooting of actual pornography. Mazer claimed the scene was deleted so as not to compete with the naked hotel-fight, but hinted it might be included in future DVD releases.[9]


With the exception of Borat, Azamat, Luenell and Pamela Anderson, none of the characters are portrayed by actors.[10][4][11][7] Most scenes in the film were unscripted,[4] although the end credits do credit a "Naked Fight Coordinator." In most cases the film's participants were given no warning on what they would be taking part in except for being asked to sign release forms agreeing not to take legal action against the film's producers.[12] Filming was already underway in January 2005, when Cohen caused a near riot in what would ultimately be the rodeo scene in the final cut of the film.[13] An interview with Cohen by Rolling Stone indicated that over 400 hours of footage had been shot for the film, while IMDb states that during this time Borat's antics led to police being called on Cohen 91 times.[14][15] The end credit footage is taken from Soviet-era Estonian Television commercials, and the man represented at the end of the sequence as Kazakhstan's president is in reality Azerbaijan's president Ilham Aliyev.[15]

The "Kazakhstan" depicted in the film has little or no relationship with the actual country and the producers explicitly deny attempting to "convey the actual beliefs, practices or behavior of anyone associated with Kazakhstan" in the "all persons fictitious" disclaimer. The scenes showing Borat's home village were filmed in the Gypsy village of Glod, Romania.[16] The name of Borat's neighbor, Nursultan Tuyakbay, is a cross between the names of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and opposition politician Zharmakhan Tuyakbay.

No Kazakh language is heard in the film. Borat's neighbors in Kazakhstan were portrayed by Romanians who were unaware of the film's subject.[17] The Cyrillic alphabet used in the film is the Russian form, not the Kazakh one, although most of the words written in it (especially the geographical names) are either misspelled, or make no sense at all. The lettering on the aircraft in the beginning of the film is in fact merely the result of English characters on a reversed image, while promotional materials spell "BORДT" with a Cyrillic letter for D substituted for the "A" in Faux Cyrillic style typically used to give a "Russian" appearance. Sacha Baron Cohen speaks Hebrew in the film,[18] while Ken Davitian, who plays Azamat, speaks the Eastern dialect of Armenian .[15] They also use several common phrases from Slavic languages: Borat's trademark expressions "jagshemash" (jak się masz) and "chenquieh" (dziękuję) echo the Polish (or other related languages) for "How are you?" and "thank you".[19] While presenting his house, Borat says "tishe" to his house-cow; "tiše/тише" is Russian (similar words exist in other Slavic languages) for "quiet(er)" or "be quiet".[20]

[edit]Screenings and release



Argentina: 13

Australia: MA15+

Austria: 12

Belgium: 12

Brazil: 16

Bulgaria: B

Canada: 14A

Chile: 14

Denmark: 11 years

Finland: K-15

France: U

Germany: 12

Hong Kong: II B

Iceland: 12

India: A

Indonesia: Banned

Ireland: 16

Israel: 14

Italy: VM14

Japan: R15

Malaysia: Banned

Mexico: B15

Netherlands: 12

New Zealand: R16

Norway: 11

Peru: Banned

Philippines: R-18,PG-13 on home video

Poland: 18

Portugal: M/12

Singapore: R-21

South Africa: 18LPS

South Korea: 18

Spain: 13

Sweden: BTL (Anyone may see)

Switzerland: 14

Taiwan: 18

United Kingdom: 15

United States: R

Borat was previewed at the 2006 Comic-Con International in San Diego, California, on July 21, 2006.[21] Its first screening to a paying audience was during the 2006 Traverse City Film Festival,[22] where it won the Excellence in Filmmaking Award.[23]

The film's official debut was in Toronto on September 7, 2006, at the Ryerson University Theatre during the Toronto International Film Festival. Sacha Baron Cohen arrived in character as Borat in a cart pulled by women dressed as peasants. Twenty minutes into the showing, however, the projector broke. Cohen performed an impromptu act to keep the audience amused, but ultimately all attempts to fix the equipment, including one by Michael Moore, failed.[24] The film was successfully screened the following night, with Dustin Hoffman in attendance.[25]

In Israel, a proposed poster depicting Borat in a sling bikini was rejected by the film's advertising firm in favor of one showing him in his normal suit.[26]

Scaled-back U.S. release

In late October 2006, less than two weeks before the film's debut, Twentieth Century Fox scaled back its American release from about 2,000 to 800 cinemas after marketing-survey data showed unexpectedly poor levels of audience awareness. The move surprised industry professionals, who could not recall such a move being made so close to a film's release.[27] Despite this move, the film opened at number one in the box office, maintaining first place for two weeks straight. The film actually earned more in the second week ($28,269,900) than in the first ($26,455,463), due to an expansion onto 2,566 screens.[28]

Film release

Borat had its public release on November 1, 2006, in Belgium, and by November 3, 2006, it had opened in the United States and Canada as well as 14 European countries. Upon its release it was a massive hit, taking in US$26.4 million in its opening weekend, the highest ever in the United States and Canada for a film released in fewer than 1,000 cinemas.[29] On its second weekend, Borat surpassed its opening with a total of US$29 million.[30]


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