14 July 2009

Movie Review: Bruno (Part II)

Some further reflections on Bruno.

I've changed my opinion of Bruno slightly. I do feel that Cohen muddled the message he was trying to make about homophobia, but I also think he was making another point that wasn't so clear: American audiences have sex issues. I think he was brilliant at shocking audiences with his full frontal male nudity, the sex toy fetish scenes and the hand-cuffed S&M hotel scene.

Then, I read that GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) opposes Bruno because it "reinforces negative stereotypes" about gay people. So, now I really think every gay person ought to see the movie. Bruno, in this way, brings up something GLAAD and other straight-laced gay political activists in Washington try to hide, that there are many shallow, ill-informed, caddy club boys that are gay. There is a reality to it and their press release against Bruno doesn't really address this issue adequately. GLAAD is really reinforcing what Bruno criticizes, there isn't one way of being gay and homophobia is linked to "compulsory heterosexuality."

Another favorite scene, which had been mentioned on NPR before the movie came out, was the parents of infant children who are pushing them into show biz. Bruno does a casting call and asks parents of these infants if they will still pursue this option if the children are put at significant risks. The parents, some hesitating only for a few seconds, all agree. The very last part of that scene is really hilarious.

I hope everyone goes and sees this and is prepared for the


  1. thanks for visiting my blog. actually this is the first time i heard of this bruno movie. you made me curious enough to want to watch it. :-) please visit my blog again when you have time, thanks again!

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  2. oh goody. i will see this and be on the lookout. haha i think it's a little silly to expect someone like bruno to be some kind of gay role model. cohen's always been about stereotyping and from what i noticed, it's not supposed to be about him. he always has some form of commentary towards people in general.

  3. i have to see this movie!haha seen the trailer and it looks funny

  4. I just saw Bruno yesterday. If anybody comes out looking really bad in the movie, it's women!

    If the twin charity consultants don't succeed in making all women look like morons, then I think gays are safe with Bruno.

    Anyway, I enjoyed it.

  5. I thought it made white people look bad in general -- there were quite a few nut job white men. fascinating though.

  6. That's true. But I wasn't complaining. I don't really feel like the movie made classes of people look bad - just certain kinds of attitudes and beliefs. The stupid charity consultants didn't make women look bad, they made vapid, self-centered celebrity culture look bad. Bruno didn't make gay people look bad - he made shallowness look bad.

    But these interpretations depend upon the viewer. A classist person might see the "Ultimate Fighting" scene near the end as evidence that working class southerners are ignorant, terrible people, instead of interpreting the scene as an indictment and exposure of the violence implicit in homophobia, wherever it presents itself. I think that when you can objectify and exoticize the "other," be it working class people, people of color, queers, women, etc., it is more likely that any depiction of folks from that group will be interpreted as a statement about that group as a whole.

    The scene with the African American audience at the talk show is another example. Depending on your perspective, this scene can show "the homophobia of the Black community," or it can show some of the ways that homophobia, religious conviction, and racial oppression inform our ideas about parenting.

  7. Yeah. I know he built it up as a commentary against homophobia, but I thought it was more of a mix between two commentaries against sex-phobia and fame-philia (like the parents of the young kids). I was stunned at the end when men in the audience were crying with rage about the scene while most of the women had this "i must be on candid camera" look