Jun 23
BRÜNO – THE GAY COMEDY by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Tue, Jun 23, 2009

Homopobia, as defined in an abridged dictionary, is the fear of or discrimination against homosexuality. Brüno, the comedy movie, is all about that.

A modern satire scheduled for release in July of 2009, Brüno stars Sacha Baron Cohen, produced by Sacha Baron Cohen and co-written by Sacha Baron Cohen. An English comedian and writer, Sacha is the Golden Globe winning actor who portrayed the international box-office hit Borat for his new brand of comedic style.

When Sacha made known his plans to make a film out of his character Brüno, an intense bidding ensued to produce it which included Dream Works, Sony and 20th Century Fox. However, the right to produce was grabbed by Universal Pictures with a $42.5 million bid.

Initially rated NC-17 by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) for its sexual content, Brüno was later reclassified to an R rating after some scenes were edited. Insiders at the MPAA said that maybe it (deleted scenes) was done on purpose so as to attract attention to the movie.

Photo from New York Times

Sacha Baron Cohen’s role is that of a gay Austrian fashion show promoter who conducts humorous interviews where he traps his subjects into making outrageous statements or committing embarrassing behavior. Centered on the fashion world and nightlife, Brüno’s attire is already a satire by itself with a white Roman toga coupled with a jock strap. In Borat, Sacha’s attire was very provocative because he was only in his briefs.

Aside from the out-of-this-world script, a unique and remarkable gimmick employed in the production of Brüno was the real interviews of different personalities and the documentary part taken from some real scenes.

In Brüno’s interview of a former Mossad agent and a die-hard Palestinian, the long-standing issue of the Israel-Palestine conflict was in focus. But unexpectedly, the interview segued and even strayed such that the issue coming out has the semblance of the conflict between the Jews and Hindus. Of course, there’s no such conflict.

Another victim was the staff of KETV-TV of Tyler, Texas. A “documentary filmmaker” came to do the interview of the station staff which included news director Neal Barton and sports director Danny Elzner. But instead of talking about small-town news, the glib-tongued Brüno pushed and swerved into uncomfortable topics particularly the issue of homosexuality. When all was said and done, that’s the only time the people at KETV-TV realized that they were duped.

There was the Blue Collar Brawlin offering the cheap one-dollar beer and $5 dollar admission. The 1,500 attendees were lured mainly because of the “hot girls” to perform as stated in the billboard. Unexpectedly, the event turned out to be a gay affair with men kissing and fondling each other. But no one could complain because there was a sign that said the affair was being filmed.

In another daring ploy, Sacha’s character Brüno was able to gate-crash an Agatha Ruiz de la Prada fashion show in Milan, Italy. Brüno, wearing his outrageous attire, walked down the ramp for some moments before the security guards whisked him away from the stage. Organizers were dumbfounded because their tight security had already foiled two attempts by Brüno’s production staff to enter the backstage.

Former presidential candidate Ron Paul was also deceived by the production team of Brüno. Posing as an Austrian TV reporter, Sacha was to talk of economic issues. But because of a technical problem in the interview venue so they had to move to a room. That’s where Brüno made his act – dancing and gyrating like a real gay – causing the congressman to storm out of the room.

Jesse Benton, senior vice president of Ron Paul’s political organization, said they thought the interview was legitimate. And realizing that they were tricked, Benton could only shake his head. But his positive remark about the movie, “It sounds like it’s going to be pretty funny.”

Not all attempts of the production people were successful though.

Dressed as Brüno, Sacha and his film crew joined the Los Angeles rally in support of California’s proposition 8 (adding section 7.5 in the California constitution – only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California). Being spotted by rally organizers, Sacha and his production team were immediately escorted out of the rally site.

In another instance, while appearing as an extra in a scene for the movie Medium, Sacha was removed from the set before he could interrupt the scene. He was unable to perform his stunt intended for the benefit of his upcoming movie.

For some real anecdote, Sacha Baron Cohen had encountered a big problem with his Brüno character. He had to bleach his body hair making him suffer with his severe allergy to hydrogen peroxide.

Born in London to an Orthodox Jewish family, Sacha Baron Cohen is the youngest of three sons. He worked as a model for fashion magazines before he barged into the entertainment working as host of a weekly program on Windsor’s cable television in 1990. But his penchant for mischief caused him his job at Windsor when he was fired due to the lewd presentation of 1990 Valentine’s Day.

His first satire was that of the character Kristo, an Albanian reporter. Kristo was Sacha’s passport to Channel 4, one of two of England’s commercial channels. Later on, the Kristo character would meta-morphose into that very successful Borat character. Sacha’s very first feature film appearance was in The Jolly Boys’ Last Stand, a British comedy filmed in the late 1990s.

For the promotion of the movie, Brüno’s production team came up with another winning gimmick when Sacha Baron Cohen was able to penetrate the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. Dressed as a winged angel with white go-go boots, Bruno was to present the award for Best Male Performer. However, since being suspended on wires and flying his way in to the stage, the dangerous act culminated into an embarrassing mishap.

Brüno fell and landed on rapper Eminem in an uncompromising position – his head on Eminem’s lap while his buttocks was on Eminem’s face. Caught on live tv was Eminem’s outburst, “Get this motherfucker off me!” But there were serious talks that the act was a scripted conspiracy by Sacha and rapper Eminem since they had even rehearsed the stunt several times.

Being a gay movie, there’s a high probability that Brüno will be a hit in the Philippines mainly because of the gay audience. Much more if Danton Remoto of Ladlad will spearhead the promotion of the movie and if it gains support from the gay directors, gay actors, gay reporters and even the gay audience. It will truly be a day of reckoning for homophobics.

Comments to this article can be sent to ajsocorro@yahoo.com

Your FEEDBACK can be posted at www.filmacademyphil.org/forum/