Sacha Baron Cohen has got to be one of the most witty, talented, smart, and funny comedians alive today. His latest movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is so outrageously hilarious, so ridiculously over the top, that we couldn’t stop laughing… Apparently, the film crew had over 90 interactions with the cops during the shooting of the movie. In one particular scene, Cohen faced an angry crowd of Texas rodeo spectators, and one has to hand it to him — he definitely has guts. I don’t think his life was worth a dime at this moment.
His improvisational skills and his ability to stay in character for sustained time periods are equally admirable. He can’t predict the reactions of the people he’s interacting with, except for the fact that he’s pushing their buttons in many instances, and yet he manages to play his part, no matter what. Great stuff.
But there’s something else the film did for me: it made me remember Time of the Gypsies, a movie made by Emir Kusturica in 1988 with original music by Goran Bregovic. It includes a most memorable scene of a traditional Serbian St. George’s Day celebration — the beginning of spring, if I’m not mistaken. Large and small floats carrying blazing bonfires gently drift down a wide river, lots of people wade and swim in the water, girls wear flower wreaths in their hair… And all the while this hauntingly beautiful song is playing, called “Ederlezi”. For some reason, this song appears in ‘Borat’, together with another song by Bregovic.
‘Time of the Gypsies’ is a strange and stunning, very appealing movie that’s unfortunately as yet unavailable on DVD. But the song can be heard in different versions at YouTube; here is the one that is closest to the film version. The video is a bit odd, mostly album covers for Bregovic’s music it looks like, but it has one picture (album cover) from the river scene.