The Dictator is one of the top movies playing right now and although many of the publicity stunts surrounding Sacha Baron Cohen’s new movie have come under fire for being tired replays of the stunts he has pulled in the past, General Aladeen’s arrival in Cannes onboard a yacht with model Elisabetta Canalis was some black comedy with a relevant political message and it has generally been well-received.
Canalis and Baron Cohen, who was decked out in all his General Aladeen glory, frolicked and romanced each other on a luxurious yacht off the coast of Cannes with very public displays of affection. They massaged each other, drank champagne, took photographs and at one point, General Aladeen let Canalis take a look inside his swimming trunks. Alas, General Aladeen soon tired of Canalis, dragged her kicking and screaming across the yacht’s deck, disappeared inside the cabin. A few minutes later he and an accomplice came out of the cabin with what appeared to be a body wrapped in a black plastic garbage bag. The message was clear: Don’t bore General Aladeen--it could cost you your life!
Black humor aside, Baron Cohen was clearly making a statement on how women are viewed and treated in many of the Middle Eastern States (but not limited to the Middle Eastern States) controlled by despots. Women are of little value; the message is that they are objects that can be used and discarded at the drop of a champagne glass and without the slightest bit of remorse. While many of the stunts that Baron Cohen has used to hype his movies in the past have been about pure shock value, this one had a little more grit and depth than usual.