Although Kazakhstan a glorious country, it have a problem, too: economic, social, and Jew.

Kazakh TV talking head Borat is dispatched to the United States to report on the greatest country in the world and get inspired by his learnings.

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Borat! Cultural Learnings of America (2006)

At the behest of the Kazakh Ministry of Information, reporter Borat Sagdiyev leaves Kazakhstan for the “Greatest Country in the World”, the “U, S and A”, to make a documentary. He leaves behind his wife Oksana and other inhabitants of his village – including his “43-year-old” mother, “No. 4 prostitute in all of Kazakhstan” sister, “the town rapist”, and “the town mechanic and abortionist”. His companions are his producer Azamat Bagatov and a pet hen.

In New York, Borat sees an episode of Baywatch on TV and immediately falls in love with Pamela Anderson’s character, C. J. Parker. While interviewing and mocking a panel of feminists, he learns of the actress’ name and her residence in California. Borat is then informed by telegram that Oksana has been killed by a bear. Delighted, he secretly resolves to travel to California and make Anderson his new wife. He makes excuses to convince Azamat to travel to California with him. Azamat is afraid of flying because of the September 11, 2001, attacks, which he believes were the work of Jews. Borat, therefore, takes driving lessons and buys a dilapidated Gaz ice-cream truck for the journey.

During the trip, Borat acquires a Baywatch booklet at a yard sale and continues gathering footage for his documentary. He meets gay pride parade participants, politicians Alan Keyes and Bob Barr, and African American youths. Borat is also interviewed on live television and disrupts the weather report. Visiting a rodeo, Borat excites the crowd with jingoistic American remarks, but then sings a fictional Kazakhstani national anthem to the tune of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, receiving a strong negative reaction. Staying at a bed-and-breakfast, Borat and Azamat are stunned to learn their hosts are Jewish. Fearful at the hands of their hosts, the two escape after throwing money at two woodlice, believing they are their Jewish hosts transformed. Borat attempts to buy a handgun to defend himself, but is turned away because he is not an American citizen. Borat purchases a bear for protection.

Borat seeks advice from an etiquette coach who suggests Borat attend a private dinner at an eating club in the South. During the dinner, he (unintentionally) insults or otherwise offends the other guests. When he lets Luenell, an African-American prostitute, into the house and shows her to the table, they both get kicked out. Borat befriends Luenell, and she invites him into a relationship with her, but he tells her that he is in love with someone else. Borat then visits an antique shop with a display of Confederate heritage items, and clumsily breaks various items.

At a hotel, Borat, just out of the bath, sees Azamat masturbating over a picture of Pamela Anderson in the Baywatch booklet. An angry Borat accidentally reveals his real motive for traveling to California. Azamat becomes livid at Borat’s deception, and the situation escalates into a fully nude brawl with homoerotic undertones,[9] which spills out into the hallway, a crowded elevator, and ultimately into a packed convention ballroom. The two are finally separated by security guards.

As a result, Azamat abandons Borat, taking his passport, all of their money, and their bear (whose head is later seen inside Azamat’s motel refrigerator). Borat’s truck runs out of gas, and he begins to hitchhike to California. He is soon picked up by drunken fraternity brothers from the University of South Carolina. On learning the reason for his trip, they show him the Pam and Tommy sex tape, revealing that she is not the virgin he thought she was. After leaving the three students, Borat becomes despondent, burning the Baywatch booklet and, by mistake, his return ticket to Kazakhstan. He is also about to slaughter his pet hen, but then changes his mind and lets it go.

Borat attends a United Pentecostal camp meeting, at which Republican U.S. Representative Chip Pickering and Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice James W. Smith, Jr. are present. He regains his faith, and forgives Azamat and Pamela. He accompanies church members on a bus to Los Angeles and disembarks to find Azamat dressed as Oliver Hardy (though Borat thinks that he is dressed as Adolf Hitler). The two reconcile and Azamat tells Borat where to find Pamela Anderson. Borat finally comes face-to-face with Anderson at a book signing at a Virgin Megastore. After showing Anderson his “traditional marriage sack”, Borat pursues her throughout the store in an attempt to abduct her until he is tackled and handcuffed by security guards. Borat visits Luenell and they return to Kazakhstan together.

The final scene (set 8 months later) shows the changes that Borat’s observations from America have brought to his village, including the apparent conversion of the people to Christianity (the Kazakh version of which includes crucifixion and torturing of Jews) and the introduction of computer-based technology, such as iPods, laptop computers and a high-definition, LCD television.

The film plays out with a recapitulation of a mock Kazakhstan national anthem glorifying the country’s potassium resources and its prostitutes as being the second cleanest in the region. The visual melange of Soviet-era photos are mixed with the real flag of Kazakhstan and, incongruously, the final frames show the portrait of Ilham Aliyev, real-life president of Azerbaijan, a country that had not been otherwise mentioned in the film.

“You can’t sell a product without first making people feel bad.”

After breaking up with his lover and boss, a smooth-talking man takes his teenaged nephew out on the town in search of sex.

Roger-Dodger

Roger Dodger (2002)

After cynical New York advertising copywriter Roger Swanson (Campbell Scott) is dumped by his on-again/off-again girlfriend, Joyce (Isabella Rossellini) — who is also his boss — his painful workday is further complicated by the unexpected arrival of his 16-year-old nephew, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg). After asking to spend the night at Roger’s, Nick reveals that he has come to ask for help—in hopes of ditching his virginal status, Nick begs Roger for a lesson in the art of seduction. Embittered Roger then takes on the role of a nocturnal drill sergeant in an imaginary war between the sexes, starting Nick’s training at an upscale singles bar. There they meet two beautiful women (Elizabeth Berkley and Jennifer Beals) who turn out to be less malleable than Roger expects.

Although this first attempt to seduce women is unsuccessful, Nick chooses to continue the quest, which takes them to a party at Joyce’s. There they find Joyce’s secretary drunk and attempt to capitalize. Once in the bedroom Nick’s conscience gets the better of him and he allows her to fall asleep untouched.

With Roger spinning out of control and Nick’s window of opportunity closing rapidly, they agree to go with the “Fail Safe” plan. This turns out to be an underground brothel. At the underground location Roger finds he cannot let Nick lose his virginity in such an emotionally barren atmosphere, and drags him back to his apartment to sleep things off. Roger has failed to introduce his nephew to the mysteries of the world, but has perhaps gained a glimmer of a conscience. Nick travels back to Ohio but Roger shows up unexpectedly to tutor Nick and his classmates on their home turf, bonding with the younger men in a more potent way in an atmosphere populated by adolescent peers.

At the closing, it is left open which way Nick will go.

Every action is a positive action, even if it has a negative result.

A brief yet,vivid take on Richard Linklater’s movie, Slacker (1991). Slacker’s exclusive quality is its refusal to commit to character-building rules.

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The rumblings amongst the independent film scene during 1991 caused by one of Linklater’s first cinematic efforts named Slacker can be seen in hindsight as a significant sign of things to come. The unorthodox style and attitude of Slacker immediately turned heads in the underground filmmaking community upon its release, and can be seen as the benchmark film to which the form of many of Linklater’s follow-up efforts can be traced. The swirl of intrigue caused by Slacker stemmed from the way in which Linklater directed, wrote and starred in a film that appeared to break textbook rules; defying Film 101 in its refusal to remain with a certain set of characters; instead casually ambling on to take in different people in different places.

Slacker’s exclusive quality is its refusal to commit to character-building rules; not neglecting any of the cast, but simply observing them for a certain amount of time before shifting elsewhere. A whole host of colourful characters are watched, including an anarchist, a conspiracy theorist, a taxi passenger (Linklater himself) and a hippy; all discussing a variety of subjects such as social issues, politics, and life itself. Linklater took the casual, meandering, eavesdropping style of Slacker and incorporated it into the likes of Dazed & Confused and Waking Life later in his career, and its elongated dialogue came to be recognised as his own personal cinematic stamp.

Indeed, whilst Slacker stands alone as a curiously compelling filmic experiment; for those looking into Linklater as a filmmaker it is essential viewing. Not only does it establish the director’s filmic roots, but it is also demonstrative of his skill and style even in his relative inexperience. The film has gone on to influence the likes of other filmmakers (Kevin Smith has often made reference to its inspiration), and can be considered a valuable nugget of independent filmmaking.