A remote off-grid village in the Carpathian mountains has been humiliated by the new movie Borat starring British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.
Glod is a mountain outpost with no mains power, sewage or running water. The name Glod means Mud in Romanian. Locals eke out livings peddling scrap iron or working patches of land. Now the villagers have discovered the blockbuster movie portrays them as a group of rapists, abortionists and prostitutes, who happily engage in casual incest.
Disabled Nicu Tudorache , a deeply religious grandfather who lost his arm in an accident, was one of those who feels most humiliated. For one scene, a rubber sex toy in the shape of a fist was attached to the stump of his missing arm – but he had no idea what it was.
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The villagers, , who are hoping they will be able to bring mains electricity to their village with a pay-off from the film-makers, claim Borat star Sacah Baron Cohen lied to them about the true nature of the project, which they believed would be a documentary about their hardship, rather than a comedy mocking their poverty and isolation. Mr. Tudorache said: This is disgusting. They conned us into doing all these things and never told us anything about what was going on. They made us look like primitives, like uncivilised savages.
‘Someone from the council said these Americans need a man with no arm for some scenes. I said yes but I never imagined the whole country, or even the whole world, will see me in the cinemas ridiculed in this way. This is disgusting.
‘Our region is very poor, and everyone is trying hard to get out of this misery. It is outrageous to exploit people’s misfortune like this to laugh at them. ” Glod’s 1,000 residents live off -grid in dilapidated huts in the shadow of the Carpathian mountains. Toilets are little more than sheltered holes in the ground and horses and donkeys are the only source of transport.
The crew was led by a man villagers describe as ‘nice and friendly, if a bit weird and ugly’, who they later learned was Baron Cohen. The comedian insisted on travelling everywhere with bulky bodyguards, because, as one local said: ‘He seemed to think there were crooks among us.’
Borat would come to the village every morning to do ‘weird things’, such as bringing animals inside the run-down homes, or have the village children filmed holding weapons.
‘We are now coming together and will try to hire a lawyer and take legal action for being cheated and exploited. We are simple folk and don’t know anything about these things, but I have faith in God and justice.’ No doubt Baron Cohen will have to pay the village off. The question is, how much.
The residents of Glod only found out about the true nature of the film after seeing a Romanian TV report. Some thought it was an art project, others a documentary. Many were on the brink of tears as they saw how they were portrayed.
Gheorghe Luca owns the house that stood in for Borat’s – the film-makers brought a live cow into his living room. ‘It was very uncomfortable at the end and there was animal manure all over our home. We endured it because we are poor and badly needed the money, but now we realise we were cheated and taken advantage of in the worst way.
‘All those things they said about us in the film are terribly humiliating. They said we drink horse urine and sleep with our own kin. You say it’s comedy, but how can someone laugh at that?’
Spirea Ciorobea, who played the ‘village mechanic and abortionist’, said: ‘What I saw looks disgusting. Even if we are uneducated and poor, it is not fair that someone does this to us.’
He remembered wondering why the crew took an old, broken Dacia car and turned it into a horse cart. He said: ‘We all thought they were a bit crazy, but now its seems they wanted to show that it is us who drive around in carts like that.’
When local vice-mayor Petre Buzea was asked whether the people felt offended by Baron Cohen’s film, he replied: ‘They got paid so I am sure they are happy. These gipsies will even kill their own father for money.’
Bogdan Moncea of Castel Film, the Bucharest-based production company that helped the filming in Romania, said the crew donated computers and TV sets to the local school and the villagers. But the locals have denied this.
But feelings in Glod are running so high that angry villagers brandishing farm implements chased out a local TV crew, shouting that they had enough of being exploited.
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