In 2006 ‘Borat’ brought to light the xenophobia at the heart of America. ‘Bruno’s’ attack was a little more scattershot. Over the course of 86 minutes he took aim at celebrity culture, fame, homophobia and how Osama Bin Laden looks like a “dirty wizard”. As Tim Berroth says on “Hollywood Jesus”, it would be too easy to dismiss the film as juvenile filth (but I am sure many will). Cohen is too intelligent for that.
But if we can sit through the film, what else can we come away with apart from sore ribs and an off taste in our mouth?
1 Corinthians 4:5 reads,
“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.” Bruno seems to be doing God’s job here.
What is so alarming about the film is not the amount of screen time dedicated to Cohen’s manhood but to the dark hearts of human beings. Witness the parents who will do anything to get their children a modelling gig. Even if that means the child needs to lose ten pounds in a week. “She’ll do it”, quotes one mother. The mother is so happy when she hears the news that her child is going to be in the shoot even if that means the baby will be playing the part of a nazi officer pushing a barrel that has another child in it who will be “the jew” on their way to the gas chamber.
That when faced with homosexual PDA, a group of men and women storm the set, tossing chairs at Cohen and crying out for his blood!
That there are PR companies set up to find celebrities the “in” issue at the moment that if they campaign for will get them lots of media attention.
Justice has been served to these people. The real question is whether we should be laughing at them. If we ever needed proof that the world is slightly askew, then Bruno will do the trick.
The cult of celebrity also gets taken to town in the film as the main plot involves Bruno trying to find the best way to get famous. We live in a culture where people will do anything to be famous and this is highlighted several times by the film. Is this really what our life is meant to be about?
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
We have a God who loves us for who we are. Psalm 139 is a call to be content with who we are. ‘Bruno’ shows us how empty the pursuit of fame is.
Paul writes in Colossians 3 , ”
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
I think Paul would say today, “don’t get caught up in the fruitless pursuit of fame. God has something better in mind. Not something that constrains you, but something that frees you.”
Yes there are things in Bruno that many may find vile and offensive but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it opens our eyes to the alternative.