AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Borat
Director: Larry Charles (Dir)
Release Date:   3 Nov 2006
Duration (in mins):  82-84 or 89
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Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen  (Borat [Sagdiyev])
  Ken Davitian  (Azamat [Bagatov])
  Luenell [Campbell]  (Luenell)
 

Summary: In the poverty-stricken village of Kuzcek, Kazakhstan, Kazakh television journalist Borat Sagdiyev explains that the Ministry of Information has decided to send him to the “U. S. of A” to make a documentary film about how the country deals with problems of “the economy and the Jews,” issues that have been plaguing Kazakhstan. Before setting off for America in his horse-drawn automobile with his producer, Azamat Bagatov, Borat introduces his sister, the “number 4 prostitute in Kazakhstan,” the town mechanic and abortionist and Borat’s corpulent, shrewish wife, and shows a film clip of himself narrating “The Running of the Jew,” the town’s most revered festival. Upon arriving in New York, Borat and Azamat board the subway, where Borat introduces himself to his fellow passengers by kissing them, which is met by universal hostility. The chicken Borat carries in his suitcase then escapes, sending Borat on a wild chase through the subway car to recapture the bird. At the Hotel Wellington, Borat mistakes the elevator car, spacious by Kazakh standards, as his hotel room, and once ensconced in his room, splashes his face with water from the toilet. After washing his underpants in Central Park, defecating in front of Trump Tower and masturbating in front of the lingerie store Victoria’s Secret, Borat has a lesson with Pat Haggerty, a humor counselor who is flummoxed when the Kazakh asks him for a joke about mental retardation. Back at the hotel, Borat falls in love at first sight when he sees actress Pamela Anderson on the television show Baywatch , in which she plays a sexy lifeguard. Later, Borat interviews three feminists, who try to explain to him that women are equal to men. When Borat remarks that they cannot be equal because women have smaller brains, then calls one of the women “pussycat,” the women walk off the set. Borat returns to his hotel, where he receives a telegram that his wife has been killed by a bear, and joyously kisses the man who delivered the good news. Determined to meet Pamela, Borat tells Azamat that instead of focusing on New York, they are going to California. Azamat reluctantly agrees after being reassured that they will not have to fly there because he is afraid that "the Jews" might repeat their attack of 9/11. After taking a driving lesson in which he offers his teacher a swig of alcohol and yells obscenities at passing motorists, Borat goes to buy a car, telling the salesman that he “wants a pussy magnet.” The salesman tries to explain that although there is no such thing, women are attracted by Hummers or Corvettes, but the deal falls through when Borat explains that he can only spend $650. Borat buys an ice cream truck instead, after which he and Azamat head west, their first stop being Washington, D.C., the home of “warlord George W. Bush.” There Borat meets with former congressman Bob Barr, who blanches when Borat announces that the piece of cheese he offered the congressman was made from his wife’s breast milk. Borat then interviews two-time presidential candidate Alan Keyes, an African American whom he calls “chocolate face." Borat's next stop is WAPT television news in Mississippi, where, after announcing on camera that he has to urinate, he stands up out of camera range. After the interviewer hurriedly terminates the segment, Borat barges into the weatherman’s broadcast, causing the hapless weatherman to break out laughing. At a rodeo in Virginia, where Borat is to sing the national anthem, the rodeo’s general manager, Bobby Rowe, earnestly advises Borat to shave his mustache lest people think he is a Muslim terrorist. The audience turns against Borat, however, when he solemnly pronounces that he hopes George Bush drinks the blood of every single man, woman and child in Iraq, then begins singing the Kazakhstan national anthem to the tune of "The Star Spangled Banner.” After being chased out of the rodeo grounds, Borat and Azamat continue their journey, stopping at a garage sale that Borat mistakes for a gypsy village. There Borat unearths a magazine devoted to Baywatch and promptly buys it. Becoming lost, Borat turns off the highway to ask a group of young black men for directions. Impressed by their street clothes and language, Borat asks them to teach him how to dress, and under their tutelage, learns to pull his pants down around his hips. Later, when Borat enters an exclusive hotel lobby with his underwear protruding from his pants and calls the clerk “vanilla face,” he is thrown out. Proceeding to a bed-and-breakfast, Borat and Azamat are terror-stricken upon learning that their hosts are Jewish. Later, when the couple delivers a sandwich to his room, Borat is certain that they are trying to poison them and, as soon as their backs are turned, spits it out. Late that night, when several cockroaches climb under the door to their room, Borat and Azamat believe that the Jews have shape-shifted, and after throwing some dollar bills at the insects to appease them, they flee. Deciding that he needs a gun to protect himself, Borat stops at a gun shop where he asks the clerk what is the best gun to defend himself against a Jew. Unfazed, the clerk calmly discusses the attributes of each weapon, but ultimately refuses to sell Borat a gun because he is not an American citizen. Deciding instead to buy a bear for protection, Borat and Azamat continue their journey, stopping to visit Birmingham, Alabama, etiquette coach Kathie Martin so she can give Borat pointers about how to behave at a dinner party. Later, at a decorous dinner party at the Magnolia Mansion arranged by etiquette coach Cindy Streit, Borat excuses himself to use the bathroom. In his absence, the other dinner guests comment on how charming he is and how easily he could be “Americanized,” until Borat returns with a bag of feces. Soon after, when Luenell, a plump black prostitute whom Borat has invited to dine with him arrives, the other guests promptly excuse themselves and the hostess calls the sheriff to oust Borat. Luenell and Borat then go to a club where they enjoy riding a mechanical bull together. Some time later, Borat accidentally demolishes the merchandise in an antique store where he has gone to buy a gift for Pamela. Azamat and Borat then check into a hotel, and when Borat finishes soaking in the bathtub, he comes into the bedroom and finds Azamat masturbating to the Baywatch magazine. Furious that his sweetheart is being defiled, Borat falls upon Azamat, and the two naked men begin to throw each other around the room. When Azamat runs into the hallway, Borat follows, and the two proceed down the elevator and burst into a ballroom filled with a convention of businessmen. After Borat and Azamat are ejected from the hotel, Azamat, blaming Borat for their bad luck, takes off with the bear, as well as Borat’s money and passport. Deciding to continue making the documentary, Borat continues on alone, but when the ice cream truck breaks down, he hitches a ride with three drunken fraternity boys in an RV. After making several anti-Semitic and misogynistic comments, the boys show Borat a sex video of Pamela. Crushed, Borat, who thought that Pamela was a virgin, leaves the RV in despair. He falls asleep in front of an Evangelical church, and upon awakening, is welcomed by the head of the congregation who promises that “Jesus can help" him. When the reverend lays hands on Borat, the Kazakh begins speaking in tongues and is embraced by the flock. Borat then decides to forgive Pamela and proceed to California with “his friend Jesus.” Outside the Mann’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd., Borat spots Azamat dressed as comic Oliver Hardy. The two friends embrace, after which Azamat presents Borat with a file he has compiled on Pamela, indicating that she is scheduled to be at a book signing the next day. The following day, Borat proceeds to the bookstore carrying a “wedding sack” with which he intends to procure Pamela. After eagerly waiting in line, Borat approaches Pamela and slips the bag over her head. Struggling, Pamela runs away and is chased into the parking lot by Borat, where several security guards tackle him. Determining it is time to return home, Borat reflects on his journey and, realizing that Luenell is a true treasure, asks her to go to Kazakhstan as his wife. Eight months later, in the village of Kuzcek, Borat assures the audience that reforms have been instituted, citing that the ritual of the “Running of the Jew” has been replaced by pinioning a farmer to a cross. Joined by Luenell and the villagers, Borat waves goodbye. 

Distribution Company: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Production Company: Four by Two
Everyman Pictures
Dune Entertainment LLC
Major Studio Partners
One America Productions, Inc.
Director: Larry Charles (Dir)
  Dale Stern (1st asst dir)
  David A. Siegel (1st asst dir)
  John Isabeau (2d asst dir)
Producer: Sacha Baron Cohen (Prod)
  Jay Roach (Prod)
  Dan Mazer (Exec prod)
  Monica Levinson (Exec prod)
  Peter Baynham (Co-prod)
Writer: Sacha Baron Cohen (Scr)
  Anthony Hines (Scr)
  Peter Baynham (Scr)
  Dan Mazer (Scr)
  Sacha Baron Cohen (Story)
  Peter Baynham (Story)
  Anthony Hines (Story)
  Todd Phillips (Story)
  Sacha Baron Cohen (Based on a character created by)

Subject Major: Antisemitism
  Etiquette
  Jews
  Kazakhstan
  Kidnapping
  Reporters
  Unrequited love
  Voyages and travel
 
Subject Minor: Actors and actresses
  Antique shops
  Bears
  Chickens
  Congressmen
  Dinners and dining
  Drunkenness
  Evangelists
  Fraternities
  Hotels
  Los Angeles (CA)
  Masturbation
  New York City
  Nudity
  Prostitution
  Rodeos
  Salesmen
  Subways
  Washington (D.C.)

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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