Hong Kong’s Wan Chai market gets surprise screen time in ‘Borat 2’

The “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” scene was shot at Bowrington Road Market in Wan Chai. Screenshots taken from the film.
The “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” scene was shot at Bowrington Road Market in Wan Chai. Screenshots taken from the film.

Warning: This article contains spoilers

Borat 2 has everything we loved about the 2006 movie: politically incorrect humor, jabs at American conservatism and daring stunts that are just the right mix of uncomfortable and brilliant comedy.

But the new Borat Subsequent Moviefilm also features one scene we didn’t quite expect to see: Hong Kong’s very own Wan Chai market.

Towards the end of the mockumentary, the film floats the idea that Borat—the fictional Kazakh journalist played by Sacha Baron Cohen—might have been COVID-19’s “patient zero,” spreading the virus all around the world with his travels.

One shot in particular shows Baron Cohen in the colorful Wan Chai Market, dangling what appears to be a dead goose by its neck while coughing manically.

But the scene is more than just a stroke of comedy. It’s satire at its finest: Wan Chai Market sits near a bridge that, in Chinese, is pronounced ngo geng kew (鵝頸橋). That translates as “Goose Neck Bridge.”

Is this a display of cultural sensitivity? Cultural insensitivity? We’re not quite sure anymore.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) confirmed with Coconuts that any “dressed poultry” sold in markets must be “separately packed in plastic bags and stored in refrigerators at a temperature less than 10°C, preferably at 4°C, for display for sale.”

It is not known when Baron Cohen graced Hong Kong with his pseudo-Soviet presence.

It’s also unclear how the Borat directors convinced an unsuspecting market hawker to set aside her own fish to allow in place a tray of shiny fake goose and miscellaneous poultry—or if the scene might be staged.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, known also by its mouthful of a title, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, was released last week.

It has since garnered praise for its sharp, satirical critique of American culture. In the film, Borat speaks with followers of the Qanon conspiracy theory, who believe that US President Donald Trump is on an underground mission to stop child trafficking operations executed by a pedophilia ring consisting of high-level Democrats.

He also leads a crowd at a pro-Trump rally in a banjo-heavy country ditty singalong. (The line “Journalists, what ‘chu gonna do, chop ’em up like the Saudis do” is, even by our counts, unfortunately catchy.)

But some say the film does not quite live up to its predecessor, which was critically acclaimed as one of the funniest films of the decade when it was released 15 years ago. And some in Kazakhstan aren’t entirely appreciative of Borat’s exaggerated racist, anti-semitic and misogynist views being portrayed as typical in the insular Central Asian country.

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