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Sacha Baron Cohen Movies

Supporting the hype for Bruno

26th May

Updated: Tajikistan Recommends...

Sacha Baron Cohen's latest comedy, The Dictator

Paramount released Sacha Baron Cohen's latest comedy, The Dictator, worldwide on Wednesday, but one country has decided to ban the film. The Central Asian state Tajikistan has opted to ban the film.

A Tajik film distributor told the Kyrgyz blog that the real reason that the film is being banned is because of its content, even though other former Soviet republics in the region will be showing the film. It's wrong to compare us with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and with other countries, Daler Davlatov told the site, reports The Guardian.

It's incorrect because we have a different mentality. We're not going to give Dictator a premiere because of these considerations, Davlatov explained.

AFP reports that the repressive Turkmenistan is also likely to ban The Dictator.

Update: Uzbekistan Recommends...

26th May 2012. From

Sasha Baron Cohen's political spoof The Dictator has been censored for Uzbek cinemas: a number of episodes that have not appealed to the Uzbek authorities have been cut off from the film.

Uzbekistan made 12 minutes of cuts to reduce the 83-minute long film to 71 minutes.

Presumablly the scenes that failed to pass state censorship were those that resonated with the dictatorial Uzbeki government.

The previous films starring Sasha Baron Cohen, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and Bruno have not been showed in Uzbek cinemas at all.

The appearance of The Dictator in Uzbekistan contrasts with other post-Soviet authoritarian countries, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, that have already banned the filmm before its global premiere.


8th December

Update: Libel Terrorism...

Palestinian sues Sacha Baron Cohen over portrayal as terrorist in Bruno

A Palestinian has dragged British funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen to court claiming 70 million pounds in a libel suit over his portrayal in the flick Bruno .

A scene in Bruno shows Cohen's character claiming to have travelled to the Ein El-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon to meet a leader of the Al-Aqsa Brigades. A caption labels Abu Aita as Terrorist group leader, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade .

Ayman Abu Aita, a grocer and activist from Bethlehem says the movie has destroyed his life. He claims that his life has been threatened since the movie's release and adds that he does not support terrorism, reports the Telegraph.

Aita says he met Cohen believing he was a German making a film about the Palestinian cause.


29th September

Update: Counter Cultural...

Bruno banned in Malaysia

Malaysia has banned Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy Bruno because it contains a lot of sex, a senior official said .

The movie has been banned in Malaysia because of the sexual content. It was decided by a three-man committee. (There is) a lot of sex in it, an official with the National Film Censorship Board told AFP.

He said the panel judges movies based on whether they feature violence, horror, sex or counter-cultural themes. In the case of Bruno , the ban is based on its sex and counter-culture content, he said on condition of anonymity.

Borat was also banned in Malaysia. Since last year alone, Malaysia has banned five movies, the most recent being US horror film Halloween II , written and directed by Rob Zombie.


9th September

Update: Bruno Gets Hard...

Bruno a wind up in Hong Kong

A promotional poster for Bruno has been deemed too risque by an advertising agency that banned the ads from the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway system.

The comedy and all its promotional material had been approved by the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, Hong Kong's ratings administrator, with the film rated Category III (restricted to people over 18) and the advertising material rated Category I, suitable for all ages.

The ad agency has taken offense at a term in the film's translated Chinese title, a pun that means both definitely deceive and make hard in Chinese.

It's standard practice for us to censor the advertising materials when we receive them, even after they've been approved by TELA. We're uncomfortable with the wordings, and are concerned that it might affect the passengers, so we decided to reject the ad, Amy Chan, deputy managing director of JCDecaux told The Hollywood Reporter. The admittedly conservative agency has asked the film's distributor, Panorama, to change the wording, a request the distributor refused to accept.


31st August

 Offsite: Horrendous Bruno...

Nutters have a whinge over US film censorship via the industry serving MPAA

See article from


28th July

Update: Bruno the Brave...

Threats of permanent censorship by terrorists

Sacha Baron Cohen has stepped up his security after being threatened by a militant Palestinian group angered at its portrayal in the film Brüno .

The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a coalition of Palestinian militias in the West Bank, said in a statement released to a Jerusalem-based journalist that it was very upset that it featured in the film starring Baron Cohen's homosexual fashionista alter ego: We reserve the right to respond in the way we find suitable against this man. The movie was part of a conspiracy against the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.

The comic is taking the threat seriously and has improved security for himself and his family in preparation for violent reprisals.

Baron Cohen's Austrian character ridicules the Martyrs' Brigades when he bids for fame by getting himself kidnapped by Ayman Abu Aita, who is identified in the film as the leader of the organisation.

Abu Aita's lawyer, Hatem Abu Ahmad, said that he is preparing a legal action against Baron Cohen and Universal Studios alleging that the Martyrs' Brigade reference could get his client in trouble with the Israelis and the homosexual association could get him killed by the Palestinians.

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. Aaron Klein, the WorldNet reporter who received the statement from the Martyrs' Brigades, said: These are terrorists. They are against feminism, gay rights and abortion. Once I asked them what would they do if they found out one of their members was a homosexual. They said they would cut off his head.

Baron Cohen also angered Orthodox Jews during the filming of Brüno in Jerusalem when he nearly provoked a riot as he strutted down the street in a sexed-up Hasidic outfit with skintight shorts.


15th July

Update: The Fashion to Complain...

Bruno clocks up the complaints in Australia and gets banned in Ukraine

Bruno is to become the most complained-about film of the year in Australia and is set to be sued by a terrorist leader featured in the movie who claims the interview was conducted under false pretences.

Bruno, which features swingers' parties, barely-pixelated oral sex and a "talking" male appendage, has clocked up 12 complaints with the Classification Board since it started screening in Australia with a MA15+ rating last Wednesday.

All say the film, based on Sasha Baron Cohen's flamboyantly gay fashionista character, should be rated R18+.

MA15+ bars under-15s without a parent or guardian while R18+ bars under-18s from viewing the film at all.

In New Zealand, Bruno has been rated R16, which restricts those aged under 16 from watching.

In the US, it is rated R, which means under-17s must be accompanied by a guardian.

Ayman Abu Aita, who is labelled in the movie as a terrorist group leader, said he was shocked when he learned five days ago the film depicts a homosexual character and contains scenes including full frontal male nudity and graphic homosexual fetish sex.

Aita also slammed Baron Cohen as a big liar who made up stories when describing to David Letterman the way he met Aita at an undisclosed location. Aita said he is pursuing legal action against Baron Cohen.

Ukrainian Dick Censors

Based on article from

It may have been the visit to the swingers' party that did it. Or perhaps it was the scene where Brüno drops in to see a medium and simulates oral and anal sex with a ghost. Either way, the antics of Sacha Baron Cohen's Brüno all appear to be too much for Ukraine.

According to reports, Ukraine's culture and tourism ministry is set to ban the film Brüno , which was due for release in the post-Soviet country next week.

The ministry has so far not explained its decision. But it appears to have taken the view that several of the scenes – among them a mock gay parade, and one in which Brüno shows off his penis – were likely to offend conservative and religious opinion.

Ukraine's Catholic west and orthodox east take a dim view of gay rights, and hold highly traditional social views. And despite efforts by Ukraine's western-leaning political elite to integrate with Europe, there is little sign of a more liberal view taking hold.

Yesterday, however, some sources in Ukraine's cinema industry suggested that the controversy may simply be an elaborate publicity stunt, dreamed up by distributors Sinergia to boost the film ahead of its release.

The Ukrainian website, however, today reported the ban was genuine.


30th June

Comment: Straight Hype...

Oh my god! I agree with the BBFC

With Bruno, Bruno, Bruno. What can you say? The BBFC have said its gonna have to be 18, Universal (the distributor) have said Waaaa Waaaa Waaa. Why? Money. That's all. What else would you expect from an American company? The almighty dollar is in trouble on the shores of Blighty. However, I'm inclined to agree with the BBFC on this one. Anything to do with gay sex or homosexual references is always going to be taboo. Certain people will automatically dismiss this film as Fucking faggots, Fuck 'em . Everyone knows a man that won't watch Priscilla : Queen of the Dessert, because it has Fucking faggots in it. Even though, during that whole film we're only told the trio are gay / female performers, we never actually see anything, not even an onscreen kiss. Even the kiddie fiddling uncle had his scene severely edited by the director, as it lowered the overall comedic tone of the movie.

The thing is with Bruno , its getting exactly what it set out to get, adverse publicity, public outcry, and massive media interest. All of which will sell tickets, DVD's etc. For entertainers like Sacha Baron Cohen, this is probably the highest accolade he could receive. These people don't set out to offend, they just push the envelope in a way only they can, and their aware that this boundary pushing WILL upset, WILL offend, but will ultimately buy another storey for their houses.

I really don't think the BBFC should be blamed for their decision. They've done their job, so they're happy (as are their peers). The films uncut (although it is the slightly tainted U.S. print, but, small price) so I'm happy, in fact the only people who aren't happy, are the money grabbers at Universal. Why though? surely the film will make its money on DVD? where it will be seen by a majority of under 18's anyway. Did Borat break the box office? No. As for Ali G's transition to the big screen i don't remember that being up to Forrest Gumps takings. So I think it's safe to say, that Universal are just spoilt children that want ice cream before dinner. They know they're going to get the cash, they just want it NOW. If Universal had a brain they'd release the full uncut version in the U.K. (the BBFC would pass it as an 18), and advertise the hell out of the fact that the Brits have one up on their (supposedly) free brothers across the pond. But alas, no. They'll realise that just in time for the DVD.


26th June

Update: Pygmies at the BBFC...

Censors should grow up over Brüno and sex

The censors can't agree on Brüno , Sacha Baron Cohen's latest atrocity, in which he impersonates a gay Austrian fashion pundit.

In the permissive Netherlands, it's been released uncut with a 12 certificate.

Even in Ireland, they've given it a 16. But the BBFC has given Brüno a full 18 certificate, since the producers have declined to cut the rudest scenes.

The distributor, Universal, has described the decision as absurd, no doubt peeved because it means the movie will take much less at the box office.


19th June

Updated: Black Circles...

A pre-cut Brüno rated 18 at the BBFC

The BBFC has ruled that strong sexual content in three scenes of Brüno made one of the summer's most widely anticipated films unsuitable for the 15 certificate needed to generate a blockbuster audience. The British comic's two previous efforts, Ali G Indahouse and Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, were both rated 15.

A re-edit helped to avert a worse fate in the United States where Brüno was originally awarded a NC-17 rating, meaning that most American cinemas would not have screened it. A revised version was later passed as an “R”, restricted to over 17s or younger teenagers accompanied by an adult.

The same revised version, where black circles were inserted to cover body parts, was presented to the BBFC.

Under the British censor's system which unlike their American equivalent is based partly on public consultation this was insufficient to earn a lower rating. A spokesperson said: We felt that made it worse not better in some scenes because you could not tell what was acted out.

In two of the three most extreme scenes the sex was faked: an outrageous love scene between Brüno and his pygmy boyfriend and a sequence where Brüno mimes a sexual act in explicit detail.

However a third, filmed at a real swinger's party, shows unsimulated sex.

Conor Dignam, editor of the industry magazine Screen International, suggested that they may be gambling that the notoriety of an 18 certificate will merely build anticipation amongst a teenage audience and guarantee an even longer commercial life on DVD and television.

Update: Producers unhappy with 18 certificate

19th June 2009. Based on article from

The film's distributor Universal described the 18 certificate as absurd .

There is no question they will lose money because of us. They actually requested the 18 certificate, explained BBFC spokeswoman Sue Clark. They knew very early on, at an advice viewing, that if they wanted a 15 they would have to cut some scenes. They have had plenty of time to do it and have chosen not to.

The scenes deemed unsuitable for a younger audience included an extended sex sequence starring Brüno and his pygmy boyfriend, another in which he mimes oral sex with a ghost of German dance act Milli Vanilli, and a third in which he attends a swingers' party.

Last night, David Kosse, president of Universal Pictures International, said the company had been left with no other option than to submit the film with an 18 request: They requested cuts that were some of the funniest bits of the movie. Ultimately you then know what you are going to get and, at the end of the day, we submitted the film to be an 18. We clearly wanted it to be a 15. In Ireland it is a 16, in the Netherlands a 12 and in America an R. It is absurd that you can see it as a 17-year-old in Dublin but not in London.

Kosse said the cuts would have proved too much of a compromise. Why take a movie that is very, very funny to the rest of the world but say the population of one country cannot see that version?


18th June

Update: Gerbils and G-Strings...

More gay support for the hype for Brüno

No doubt about it—Sacha Baron Cohen uses every negative gay stereotype you could possibly imagine in his portrayal of Brüno , his Austrian fashion journalist alter ego.

He's a flamboyant limp-wristed queen who has wild sex, dresses in barely-there S&M ensembles and has never met a Swarovski crystal he doesn't like.

Is it any wonder that a big portion of gay Hollywood finds parts of the upcoming Brüno movie more offensive than humorous?

GLAAD, the gay media watchdog group, is so concerned about Cohen's depiction of homosexuality in the flick that it asked Universal Pictures, the studio releasing Brüno , to include a message of support for gay rights and tolerance from Cohen at the end of the movie. The request was denied.

One scene includes Brüno and a sexual partner tied up in chains in a hotel room, wearing nothing but G-strings. Also in the room? A tarp on the wall is dirtied with fecal stains and there are gerbils in a dresser drawer, according to Hollywood blog The Wrap.

Robinson said GLAAD is also concerned about a scene in which Brüno appears on a talk show to discuss his adoption of an African baby. They asked that a photo shown during the bit showing a baby sitting in the same hot tub where two men are having sex be cut.

Universal has promised that GLAAD can see the movie another time before its July 7 debut, Robinson said. A rep for the studio declined to comment about the possibility of a future screening.


14th June

Update: A Queer Message...

Bruno winds up the US gay lobby

With impeccable timing, Sacha Baron Cohen has found a fresh collection of minority groups to take offence at his work.

A month before the release of his latest satirical movie, Bruno , the British comedian has provoked noisy complaints from America's gay rights lobby about the alleged excesses of his new alter ego: a flamboyantly homosexual fashion journalist from Austria called Bruno. The character, who spends the film wearing mesh vests, zebra-skin underwear and leather S&M gear, is supposed to send-up the ignorance and intolerance of real-life individuals he meets during a filmed journey across the US. However, he has instead been accused of promoting gay stereotypes.

Rashad Robinson, of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said: Sacha Baron Cohen's well-meaning attempt at satire is problematic in many places and outright offensive in others.

Ms Robinson is particularly troubled by a scene in which Bruno appears on a TV chat-show brandishing an adopted child dressed in a T-shirt with the logo "gay-by." He boasts to the seemingly-conservative studio audience that the infant is proving a highly-effective man magnet. Also near the knuckle are scenes in which Baron Cohen's character attempts to seduce the former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul (who storms out of the room muttering about queers ) and takes lessons in how to fight off predatory homosexuals from a martial arts instructor.

Gay rights groups are concerned that US audiences will fail to appreciate Baron Cohen's irony and instead leave the cinema with their homophobia reinforced. Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay lobbying organisation in the US, has even called for filmgoers to be instructed about the message they should draw from the film, which follows TV presenter Bruno's efforts to be cured of his homosexuality in order to re-launch his career.

Universal Pictures, which financed the project, issued a statement this week saying that Bruno uses provocative comedy to powerfully shed light on the absurdity of many kinds of intolerance and ignorance, including homophobia. By placing himself in radical and risky situations, Sacha Baron Cohen forces both the people Bruno meets and the audience itself to challenge their own stereotypes, preconceptions and discomforts. We believe the overwhelming majority of the audience will understand and appreciate the film's unarguably positive intentions.


17th April

Update: Bruno Censored...

Supporting the hype for Bruno

Universal Studios have announced that Bruno is officially an R-rated movie. The MPAA's rating board toned down the NC-17 rating to R rating reportedly after viewing a new edit of the film.

Of the new rating, the board explained that the movie contains pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language.


31st March

Update: Bruno Buggered...

Too much gay sex for the US film censor

The MPAA has slapped a dreaded NC-17 rating on Universal Pictures' comedy Bruno.

The ratings board objected to a number of sexual sequences in the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy set to open on July 10, in which he plays a gay Austrian fashionista.

The studio is hoping to land an R rating for the film and is making the necessary cuts before resubmitting the film to the MPAA. The deleted sequences will likely be saved for the DVD release.

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