Sacha Baron Cohen, a comedian best known for Da Ali G Show, became a major movie star in 2006 with his debut blockbuster. The parody film, whose official title is Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, entered and stayed in the public discourse. Do you know what language Sasha Baron was speaking in the film Borat?
Sasha Baron Cohen plays a Kazakhstani actor who is anti-Semitic, but throughout the entire “Borat” film, he speaks Hebrew.
Borat’s Language in Borat
Despite the lawsuits and screening bans Sacha Baron Cohen and his backers have faced as a result of his portrayal of Borat, Israel is one unexpected country where he is doing very well. This is because Israeli moviegoers can understand the anti-Semitic character’s words when he is ostensibly speaking Kazakh because Borat is fluent in Hebrew.
The 35-year-old British comedian is an observant Jew whose grandmother resides in Haifa and whose mother was born in Israel. After graduating from high school, he spent a year working and studying on a kibbutz, or collective farm, in northern Israel. He was a member of the Zionist Jewish youth group Habonim Dror during high school.
The movie is filled with inside jokes that Israelis can only understand, including Hebrew expressions and Israeli slang. In one scene, Borat sings Koom Bachur Atzel, a Hebrew folk song whose lyrics mean get up, lazy boy. Later, he refers to Dr. Yarmulke, a government scientist from Kazakhstan who established that a woman’s brain is smaller than a squirrel’s. Even Borat’s catchphrase, wa wa wee wa, which is used to express wow, was inspired by a joke on a well-known comedy program and is frequently used in Israel.
Some American Jews worry that Borat’s humor will be misunderstood and feed prejudice. But Borat’s supporters are having fun in Israel. (Source: The Guardian)
Borat Pranking Political Figures
In the follow-up movie to Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen plays the character of Borat once more as he travels around the US challenging various politicians, including Rudy Giuliani and Mike Pence. The actor discussed why he wanted to make another Borat movie and why he decided to do so at the time that he did in a roundtable for The Hollywood Reporter.
The first movie, apart from trying to be funny, exposed a dark underbelly of American society: racism, misogyny, and anti-Semitism, But then under Donald Trump, that underbelly became overt, the racists came out proud, and these horrific views are being pushed from the biggest mouthpiece in the world, and I didn’t want to be a bystander. We felt we had to do something, because we felt that the election coming up would further see the deterioration of democracy in America. So as actors and writers, we felt we could bring back our most successful character, and a character that was a Trump supporter. That would be a way of showing how far real Trump supporters would go along with the president’s dismantling of democracy.Sacha Cohen, Actor
(Source: The Guardian)
Image from BBC