Global Voices "Carmen Meets Borat"

Global Voices "Carmen Meets Borat"

Sun, 03/06/2011 - 10:00pm - 11:00pm

Pictured: Carmen

Credit: iTVS

A spirited 17-year-old named Carmen dreams of escaping her poor Romanian village.

A Hollywood film crew arrives in a small town to shoot scenes for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat. After the unwitting townspeople are portrayed as primitive Kazakhs in the film, an outraged group of villagers — among them Carmen’s father — set out on a global odyssey in search of the offender.

Global Voices "Carmen Meets Borat" encores Sunday, March 6 at 11 p.m. on WXXI World (cable 524/DT21.2).

In Carmen Meets Borat, director Mercedes Stalenhoef follows the life of 17-year-old Carmen. She lives in a gypsy village in Romania, where the men spend their days tying one on and exchanging coarse words in her father's bar. In the evenings, she watches a Spanish soap opera and dreams of a better life in Spain, where the men are romantic and decent. Her plan to emigrate falls to pieces when an American film crew descends on her village to shoot Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The village is used in the movie to show where the main character comes from, and Borat depicts the villagers as primitive caricatures supposedly from Kazakhstan. A little later, Borat embraces a woman he introduces as his sister and brags about her status as the fourth best whore in Kazakhstan. The villagers don’t understand a single word of English and laugh in good faith for the camera. When the film is released, the world press throws itself on the village and jealousy and suspicion predominate. The chaos is made complete when an American lawyer holds out the prospect of a $30 million insurance claim to the villagers. For Carmen, it becomes increasingly difficult to realize her dreams of a better life somewhere else.

An international independent documentary series from the Independent Television Service (ITVS), GLOBAL VOICES samples the best of international documentary. In its second season, the seriesfeatures several new documentaries and notable international documentaries that have previously aired on PBS in other forums.