Monday, June 22, 2009

Bruno Stereotyping or Satire?

Sacha Baron Cohen's newest film Bruno is getting a lot of attention, and criticism and it hasn’t even been released yet. Cohen’s previous works include Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and Da Ali G Show. Cohen is infamous for going “undercover” as a character and interviewing unsuspecting politicians.

Bruno is a film about an Austrian homosexual reporter. The film is meant to be a satire and expose homophobia in America. Bruno (the main character, played by Cohen) is portrayed as a flamboyant, gay male; critics claim that this portrayal enforces stereotypes and harms the gay community.

I have yet to see the film, but the trailers seem to give good insight to the overall tone of the film. Admittedly, Cohen’s character is over the top, but isn’t that the idea? After Borat premiered, there didn’t seem to be nearly this amount of outrage at Cohen for portraying a “stereotypical” foreigner. I think that whether or not the film is stereotyping or satirizing it can encourage discussions about stereotypes, allowing people constructively criticize, dissect, and pull some good from the film.

I am excited to see the film when it is finally released in early July because of all the controversy and varying opinions; I think that it will be great springboard for discussions about the way in which media depicts sexual orientation.


  1. I do recall civilians of Kazakhstan being outraged by Borat because they felt it was an inaccurate representation. Hmmm...

  2. Honestly, more people are going to watch the movie and say "LOL OMG DID U JUST SEE THAT, HE JUST TOLD THAT BLACK LADY HIS BABY'S NAME IS OJ LMAO!!!!" The average person who *needs* these discussions don't usually engage in them. I feel that this sort of satire becomes so over the top that its true meaning (if, in fact, there is supposed to be one) is lost in the sea of completely politically incorrect humor and ridiculous jokes. Much like Family Guy, whether or not Bruno is supposed to be a comedy or a satire making points regarding our current outlook towards a variety of people who aren't white Christian men, it will come off as so ridiculous that not enough people will look past the flamboyant surface to discover any hidden meaning.

  3. I believe it is difficult to depict how people will react to a movie like Bruno. Some will be outraged by the “stereotypes” reinforced in the film, while others (like me) will laugh about it and go on with their day. Sure, this film may enforce “stereotypes” of ‘socially incorrect’ foreigners or ‘flamboyant’ gay men, but only the people that are outraged and upset by this are accepting the stereotypes given by society. Comedians make fun of anything and everything they can make a joke out of; from blondes being frosted in a freezer or waiting an eternity at a four-way stop, to talking slower to Pollocks because ‘clearly’ they’re slower. This movie is not doing anything out of the norm and merely kicking fun at things we already know and are able to laugh about.
    I had never laughed so hard during a movie preview in my life. Taking a baby out of a crate at an airport on going on a “Jerry Springer like” show to create comedy of the totally messed up situation- holy cow, super funny. Wearing a jumpsuit made out of Velcro at a runway show… no explanation needed.
    As a gay, polish, male I am looking forward to seeing this movie in theaters, not only because it is facing against social norms and showing “political correctness” but it will be a good laugh, and we all could use some of those once in a while.