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Sacha Baron Cohen: Stereotypes Played to Perfection

Sacha Baron Cohen
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By Evan Grant

Sacha Baron Cohen, one of the most controversial movie writers and actors, has created masterpiece characters using people’s lack of knowledge of other cultures to portray them in a way that highlights the stereotypes of these people.

One of his most famous roles in his movies is the character of Borat Sagidyev, a journalist from Kazakhstan who was sent to the United States to make a documentary on the country for the people back home.

Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat
Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat (Photo credit: CC BY 2.5)

Through this movie we follow Borat as he travels across the United States with his cameraman Azamat Bagatov, getting into all kinds of antics and trouble as he struggles to adapt to U.S. culture.

The character Cohen portrays, though, doesn’t align with who he is as a person.

One could look at the characters he portrays such as Borat, Ali G, and Admiral General Aladeen and assume that he is of Arab descent. Cohen himself has no Arab roots at all; he was born in London, England, grew up Jewish and lived in Israel and the United States during his adult life, making him a global citizen.

One of the reasons he has become so well-known is the way he filmed some of his movies, by going to public places and filming things that cause disturbances and controversy to the people around him.

In the movie “Borat,” we see him let a chicken loose on a New York Subway, sing a fake Kazakhstan national anthem to the tune of a U.S. song at a rodeo and so much more.

Characters through stereotypes

Behind all the controversy and the problems his characters have created is a genius screenwriter and actor.

Sacha Baron Cohen (Image credit: CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Image credit: CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cohen has the ability to portray any personality and culture through his characters — even if they are based completely off stereotypes.

We have seen him act as an Arab journalist in “Borat,” a moronic dictator of an Arab country as Admiral General Aladeen, a French race car driver in “Talladega Nights,” a British rapper in “Ali G,” and so many more.

Cohen has created these characters as a comedian, but they have served the purpose of debunking stereotypes. With his character Admiral General Aladeen, we see him act as an Arab stereotype during a helicopter tour of the New York Skyline.

In this scene, we see him reference 9/11 and count down in a foreign language scaring the other people on his helicopter ride into thinking he is going to commit an act of terror. The scene shows people thinking of him as an Arab speaking Arabic to his friend. He is actually speaking Hebrew during the scene.

“I have always found him to be very amusing. Although his characters are very edgy, they’re very funny,” said Dvir Chitrit, an Israeli college student studying film.

Although his characters are very edgy, they’re very funny.

Whether he is portraying someone from an Arab country or someone from somewhere else all over the world, Cohen has created masterpiece characters, perfectly fitting for the roles.

Evan Grant believes it is important for people from all over the world with all different stories to have a medium where their stories can be shared. His content is relevant to readers because he has experience seeing the world and the different people and cultures all over the world and he has a good voice to share different stories. Grant is passionate about sports, and travel, and religion. These are main parts to many different cultures and Grant’s knowledge on them produces pieces about many different places and people and cultures.

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