Sacha Baron Cohen’s Middle East odyssey in ‘Bruno’ criticised by locals

July 18th, 2009 - 1:44 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, July 18 (ANI): Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest movie, Bruno, has taken his comic antics to the Middle East, but his jokes have not gone down too well with his Israeli and Palestinian victims.

Bruno is a fashion reporter, a fictional gay character portrayed by Baron Cohen, whose goal is to become the biggest Austrian celebrity since Hitler.

Thus, he travels to America, where he is told that he must take on a charitable cause to achieve worldwide fame, and eventually decides to bring peace to a troubled place he calls “Middle Earth”.

There, he nearly sparks a riot in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood in Jerusalem when he struts down the street in a sexed-up Hassidic outfit that includes skin-tight shorts.

On the Palestinian side, he tries to convince a West Bank militant to kidnap him, while giving the man condescending fashion tips.

Bruno confuses the popular chickpea spread “hummus” with the Islamic militant group “Hamas” when he tries to bring together Israeli and Palestinian personalities to make peace.

In Bruno, Baron Cohen has taken aim at the Middle East’s most sacred cows.

The movie opened worldwide a week ago, and became the top grossing film in the U.S. over the weekend. It made waves in Israel, too.

However, those targeted in the film have not taken the his pranks lightly, reports the China Daily.

“This man, I think he is not a man. He is not saying the truth about me. He lied,” said Ayman Abu Aita, a former member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a militant group that has been largely disbanded.

In their scene together, Bruno identifies Abu Aita as a “terrorist”, and asks to be abducted.

Abu Aita’s Israeli-Arab lawyer, Hatem Abu Ahmad said: “This joke is very dangerous. We are not in the United States, we are not in Europe. We are in the Middle East and the world operates differently here.” (ANI)

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