Photo illustration by The New York Times; Photo from 20th Century Fox
With the Sacha Baron Cohen movie “Borat: Cultural Learnings…” hitting screens Nov. 3, Americans will be treated to a brand of Jew-bashing not often seen in Hollywood films. (In one scene, Borat becomes convinced his Jewish innkeepers have turned themselves into cockroaches and throws money at the bugs.)
The kicker: Cohen is an observant Jew.
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 6 ? Fall is traditionally when Hollywood turns to more serious films, and the Toronto International Film Festival is where they are frequently shown. But a new movie that seems certain to raise hackles and induce squirming is a raucous comedy that makes its points by seeming to embrace sexism, racism, homophobia and that most risky of social toxins: anti-Semitism.
Screening at midnight on Thursday in Toronto, ?Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan? stars the chameleonlike comedian Sacha Baron Cohen as he impersonates a Kazakh reporter touring the United States, bringing his version of Kazakh culture to real-life Americans.
In one scene Borat insists on driving to California rather than flying, ?in case the Jews repeat their attack of 9/11.? As he tours the South, he becomes terrified when he learns that an elderly couple who run an inn are Jewish. When cockroaches crawl under the door of his room, he becomes convinced the innkeepers have transformed themselves into bugs, and throws money at them.