Archive for Andreas Kronthaler

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Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on July 18, 2009 by dcairns

bruno-040209

Bruno with his “gayby,” O.J.

BRÜNO, directed by Larry Charles and starring Sacha Baron Cohen may be the first film with an umlaut in the title ever to play at my local multiplex. And even the Universal logo that opens the film has one — Üniversal — the kind of attention to detail and eagerness to get the laughs rolling right away, Tashlin-style, which is one of the film’s most endearing traits.

Fiona and I went with our friend David Wingrove, whom I regard as the Special Gayness Adviser on this one. We look to him to let us know if it’s OK to laugh. Interestingly, the film itself has a list of “advisers” including comedian Matt Lucas, in its end credits, suggesting that Cohen had the same thought: let’s get the experts’ advice. David said he couldn’t see any way anybody could find the film homophobic, so there.

“There are actually gay men like that,” he protested, and cited Andreas Kronthaler, the current Mr Vivienne Westwood, as proof that the character was not altogether beyond the bounds of reality. We discussed the way the film doesn’t much care where it gets its laughs from — some of the time we’re laughing because Brüno’s victims are bigots who deserve to be ridiculed, much of the time we’re laughing because Brüno himself is so appalling. An uncomfortable scene where he tries to seduce former presidential hopeful Ron Paul — Paul makes some obnoxious remarks, but it’s a little hard to blame him under the provocative circumstances — is redeemed by Brüno’s mournful voice-over admission, “I couldn’t even seduce Ru-Paul.”

We all laughed a very great deal, and as with BORAT, we weren’t left with that much movie at the end. This is something I’ve been feeling a lot about modern film comedies, whether of the Apatow school or Cohen’s stealth-action comedy insurgencies: the ability to cram in major laughs is quite remarkable; the ability to organise it into some kind of narrative and keep the momentum going is pretty good (and it’s mysterious how Cohen manages it in his apparently loosely-strung-together romps); the sense that you’ve actually seen a film is slightly lacking. The movies are worth paying to see on the big screen because the communal experience of laughing at an Austrian is a very rich one, but I’ve never felt the urge to re-watch BORAT and I don’t think I’ll re-watch BRÜNO. But that’s not really a criticism, it’s just the kind of beast it is.

UK buyers go here: Bruno [DVD] [2009]

US: Bruno