Ambassador calls for Bruno protests

Fury at 'cheap' shots against Austria

Austria’s new ambassador to Britain has called for protests against Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno film over the way it portrays his nation.

Emil Brix said making jokes against his fellow countrymen Adolf Hitler and Josef Fritzl was little more than ‘cheap’ attention-seeking – and urged people to speak up against it.

In the film, which is released on Friday, Bruno jokes of wanting to be the most famous Austrian since Hitler, and that the Austrian dream is to ‘have a job, find a dungeon and raise a family there’.

But Mr Brix, who takes up his London post next year, said: ‘It’s totally inappropriate. Everybody should speak up against that. The public will know how to react to this film.’

The politician, currently Austria’s culture minister, added that Cohen created controversy to ‘create as much interest as possible for his film. It is quite cheap if he fails to do so in another way’.

However, by speaking out against the movie, Mr Brix has only served to draw more attention to it.

His comments echo the diplomatic row Baron Cohen’s Borat character sparked with Kazakhstan, for portraying the nation as a backward society where rape, incest and killing Jews and gypsies was commonplace. The country’s foreign minister threatened to sue, and Borat’s Kazakh-based website was taken down.

Adding a strange twist to the current row, Mr Brix added that films by Austrian director Michael Haneke gave a more accurate portrayal of his country. ‘Films by directors like these really deal with Austria,’ he said.

His bleak films include Funny Games, where two psychotics lock a family in a cabin and make them sadistically attack each other, Benny’s video, about a psychotically murderous teenager, and The Seventh Continent, about a middle-class family who commit suicide.

Published: 8 Jul 2009

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.