In ‘Carmen Meets Borat’, director Mercedes Stalenhoef follows the life of 17-year-old Carmen. She lives in a gypsy village in Romania, where the men spend their days tying one on and exchanging coarse words in her father’s bar. In the evenings, she watches a Spanish soap opera and dreams of a better life in Spain, where the men are romantic and decent. Her plan to emigrate falls to pieces when an American film crew descends on her village to shoot ‘Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.’ The village is used in the movie to show where the main character comes from, and Borat depicts the villagers as primitive caricatures supposedly from Kazakhstan. When the film is released, the world press throws itself on the village and jealousy and suspicion predominate. The chaos is made complete when an American lawyer holds out the prospect of a $30 million insurance claim to the villagers. For Carmen, it becomes increasingly difficult to realise her dreams of a better life somewhere else.
Mercedes Stalenhoef is a Dutch filmmaker who made films for Amnesty International from 1992 to 1995, when she started making independent films. Her credits include: Clean Clothes, I Just Take My Toys With Me, I Never Want To Be Famous and Carmen Meets Borat. I Never Want To Be Famous (2005) won the Golden Calf as a Special Jury Award at the Netherlands Film Festival 2006, was selected for the Joris Ivens Competition 2005 (IDFA), nominated for Prix Italia and Prix Europa. Carmen Meets Borat (2008) was submitted for Oscar, won Golden Centaur in St. Petersburg 2009 and Golden Lessinia in Italy 2009.
Carmen Meets Borat
2008, 85', color, video
Erik van Empel
Vincent van Warmerdam
Annemiek van der Hell, Sylvia Baan
Pieter van Huystee Film