Sacha Baron Cohen has been banned in another Central Asian country. According to The Guardian, Tajikistan has banned Baron Cohen's latest film The Dictator, about the corrupt and murderous leader of a fictional nation. Their official reason is a little confusing.
A representative of the nation's sole film distribution company issued a statement that seems to conflate The Dictator with Borat:
It's wrong to compare us with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and with other countries. It's incorrect because we have a different mentality. We're not going to give Dictator a premiere because of these considerations.
So wait, is he saying that if Borat was a condemnation of Kazakhstan that The Dictator (whose fictional country is in North Africa) is about Tajikistan? Touchy, touchy! Though, to be fair, yeah Tajikistan's president, Emomali Rahmon, has been in office for almost twenty years, ruled through a catastrophically bloody civil war which saw outbreaks of ethnic cleansing, and is alleged to be funneling much of the revenue from a state-owned aluminum company (aluminum being the country's chief export) into private bank accounts accessible to only his family.
Soo... The Dictator could, maybe, be about someone like Rahmon? But no, no, that's not why the film is banned. It's because of... Kazakhstan. Or Borat. Or something. They just don't want it shown, is all. Maybe Bruno was just such a let down that they're kinda over Sacha Baron Cohen. Who knows. But it's not because they're worried that it's about them. Well, they sort of are, but not for the reasons you're thinking.
Turkmenistan, a human rights horror show, is also likely to ban the film. Because, um, they don't like Anna Faris. That's why.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.