pageok
pageok
pageok
Borat--An Israeli Pretending to be a Kazakh:

Having just seen "Borat," I'm afraid it turns out that the Jews have played another hoax on the Kazakh people. The Kazakh documentarian Borat is actually an Israeli! Despite his rugged Kazakh looks and cunning Kazakh accent, when he is not speaking English in the movie, he is actually speaking Hebrew! Those Jews will stop at nothing to undermine the good name of Kazakhstan.

In all seriousness, Borat is really speaking Hebrew, usually at least a rough translation of what the English subtitles say. Turns out that Sacha Baron Cohen spent a year in Israel as a young man, according to his Wikipedia biography.

HLSbertarian (mail):
And Azamat answers him in Armenian. Must be a hoot for all those English/Hebrew/Armenian trilingual viewers. Some Polish, Yiddish, and Romanian help as well. Now this is true multiculturalism!
11.9.2006 1:07pm
Ted Frank (www):
Cohen has been reported in the press to be a practicing Orthodox Jew. Which I suppose depends on your definition of "Orthodox": Cohen is married to the decidedly Gentile Isla Fisher and "Borat" (like this comment) seems to commit fairly egregious lashon hara.

(There's a typo in your third sentence, David.)
11.9.2006 1:12pm
but really:
Yeah, just too bad that someone forgot to tell Cohen that Kazakhs aren't eastern european. Real Kazakhs are Asian in appearance.

Still, the movie was damn funny.
11.9.2006 1:26pm
Ted Frank (www):
The inaccuracy of the Kazakh portrayal is part of the joke: English and American targets are simply clueless about the nature of the nation. Too: "Kazakhstan" has two funny "K" sounds, and the word "Kazakh" is related to "Cossack," and making fun of Cossacks is a nice inside joke for a lot of Ashkenazic Jews.
11.9.2006 1:29pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
making fun of Cossacks is a nice inside joke for a lot of Ashkenazic Jews

Yup, and also the Cossacks explain a lot of the blonde hair and blue eyes in Jewish families. (You guys can figure that out -- it's a time-honored tradition of soldiers when they are pillaging a town . . .)

David is 100 percent correct. It really is hilarious -- Borat is speaking a mix of Jibberish and Hebrew, and the Hebrew roughly translates to the English subtitles --- the "I will bring you a new arm" in the first scene of the movie is dead-on correct Hebrew, although with a bad, bad accent (much like mine).
11.9.2006 1:34pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
I'm curious as to whether, overall, "clueless" Americans and Brits are coming away with curiosity over what Kazakhstan is really like, or just with more inaccuracies stuck in their brains (presumably to be washed out soon with the next episode of Big Brother or Desperate Housewives.) My primary response to Borat is annoyance, but I also both a) already knew something about little countries stepped on by the USSR (my grandfather was Lithuanian, and my concentration in my major is on Russia, the CIS countries, and the Baltic states) and b) find these kinds of inaccuracies and jokes more frustrating and insulting than amusing.
11.9.2006 1:35pm
Adam (mail) (www):
11.9.2006 1:40pm
Raphael Laufer (mail):
What about on Shabbat? (My uncle was once complimented by an Israeli on how well he spoke Ivris...)
11.9.2006 1:48pm
HLSbertarian (mail):
Cohen has said that he actually based the portrayal on a Russian doctor, but that making Borat Kazakh opened up much more humor (including, probably, a much longer suspension of disbelief from Westerners).
11.9.2006 1:50pm
Derek Balsam (mail):
Borat's tagline/greeting, "Yagshemash", is from the Polish Jak sie masz -- "How are you (informal)". I also heard him say roughly "Jen-koo-eh", which is a corruption of Polish Dzienkuje -- "Thanks".

The Cyrillic subtitles appear to be random gibberish.
11.9.2006 2:06pm
Cobb (www):
Cohen has pretended to be a white hiphopper as Ali G. The difference is that Borat is funny.
11.9.2006 2:07pm
Ivan_123:
Sarah:
My primary response to Borat is annoyance, but I also both a) already knew something about little countries stepped on by the USSR [...]

Little countries? Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world (about 1/3 of the area of the continental U.S.).
11.9.2006 2:07pm
Derek Balsam (mail):
Oops, I spelled "Dziekuje" wrong above! Przepraszam!
11.9.2006 2:07pm
Dan Simon (www):
Perhaps he should have made Borat Polish....
11.9.2006 2:09pm
Corky Buchek:
Borat is a tremendous movie. It is hilarious. Anyone who didn't like will be execute
11.9.2006 2:15pm
MnZ (mail):
Cohen has pretended to be a white hiphopper as Ali G. The difference is that Borat is funny.


I understand that "Ali G" was short for "Alistair Graham." Cohen also pretends to be an Austrian fashionista named "Bruno."
11.9.2006 2:16pm
anonVCfan:
They're all little countries in comparison to Russia.
11.9.2006 2:18pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Cohen has pretended to be a white hiphopper as Ali G. The difference is that Borat is funny.

Mah Pitom! Ali G is hilarious; as is Bruno, especially when he interviewed some Southern black college- football player and asked him if dating was allowed among the players. . . .
11.9.2006 2:30pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
They're all little countries in comparison to Russia.

Kazakhstan is actually really, really big. It's probably the second largest of the former Soviet states (the largest being Russia). It is also a nuclear power; it along with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are the only former Soviet states to retain nukes. A little scary; no?
11.9.2006 2:31pm
Ted Frank (www):
Adam, I stand corrected.

The Cyrillic subtitles are simply the English text typed on a QWERTY keyboard and displayed in a Cyrillic font. Which comes out as gibberish, since the ASCII symbols don't coincide with Kazakh pronounciation of English letters.
11.9.2006 2:42pm
Syd (mail):
Kazakhstan also has a space program of sorts, since the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome is in actually in Kazakhstan. Do we really want to mess with them?
11.9.2006 2:51pm
Zzyzx (mail):
Khazak, Belarussian, and Ukrainian nuclear weapon inventories were transported to Russia in early 1990s.
11.9.2006 2:57pm
Vanya (mail):
Some of the cyrillic subtitles are actual Russian. Most of the cyrillic on the maps appears to be QWERTY gibberish. As far as I could tell not one word of Kazakh was ever spoken or shown in the film other than the name "Nursultan"
11.9.2006 5:01pm
BobH (mail):
"the Cossacks explain a lot of the blonde hair and blue eyes in Jewish families."

In 1966, when I was a private in the Army and being taught German at the language school in Monterey, one of my teachers -- the one-armed Herr Porzig, a pretty much unreclaimed Nazi (as were so many of the German teachers there at the time) -- was for some reason explaining to the class what he described as the "characteristics of the typical Aryan face." As his model, he chose my face: "You vill notice zat Herr H___ here hass ze high cheekbones, ze blue eyes, ze light-colored hair...," and on and on.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that he was looking at hundreds if not thousands of years of purely Semitic heritage (though perhaps, now that you mention it, with a touch of the Cossack brush) -- and besides, I was a private, and had my 92 average in the class to protect. Alav hasholom, Herrn Porzig!
11.9.2006 5:04pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
> Ali G is hilarious; as is Bruno

Bruno is already identified as the lead for Cohen's next movie. (I think he's a lot funnier than Borat.)
11.9.2006 7:58pm
Anthony A (mail):
Will they dub over the Hebrew with English and replace the subtitles with Hebrew for the Israeli version of the movie?
11.10.2006 1:09am
Bored Lawyer:
Will they dub over the Hebrew with English and replace the subtitles with Hebrew for the Israeli version of the movie?

I once watched an American movie (I think it was Out of Africa, but I may be mistaken) in an Israeli theatre. In one scene, they were burying someone, and were reciting the 23rd Psalm, using King James translation. The subtitles duly translated the recitation back into Hebrew.

The translator was apparently unaware of the source, and the Hebrew translation was badly garbled, and quite different from the original Biblical Hebrew.
11.10.2006 2:13pm
Bruce Lagasse (mail):
Many years ago, I was in Zurich with a few hours to kill before catching a train. I found a directory which informed me that a nearby movie theater was playing a Brazilian sex comedy starring Sonia Braga. As the movie was Brazilian, the actors were speaking Portuguese; as the theater was in Zurich, there were two sets of subtitles, one in German, one in French. So there were three languages coming at me, none of which I understood. Fortunately, the better parts of the movie did not require an interpreter.
11.10.2006 9:00pm