Friday, December 01, 2006

The strange affair of Borat

Guardian Unlimited | Comment is free | The strange affair of Borat

The cod Kazakh reporter's role in Pamela Anderson's divorce reflects his bizarre new status

A jealous husband in Julian Barnes's novel Before She Met Me treats his actress wife's on-screen love scenes as if they were surveillance tapes collected by a private detective - although even Barnes's green-eyed hero would probably have ruled out a ludicrously caricatured central Eurasian TV reporter as a potential cuckolder.

Flirtation, fantasies and office colleagues can cause a problem in any relationship, and in this case not only is the evidence apparently concrete and visible but the wondering about what went on is shared by millions of others. There's a story from the set of A Star is Born of Barbra Streisand's then husband demanding that Kris Kristofferson keep his knickers on for a particularly intimate scene.

Mr & Mrs Smith is one of the many movies which has an extra level of interest below the plotline because we seem to be watching Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie discovering that they love each other in the course of playing a couple who hate each other. (Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut is a good counterexample: performances given by a then husband and wife, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who gave off no sexual spark at all on screen.)

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