Thursday, January 19, 2006

Albert Brooks: I'm acknowledging the new world with my movie

Kash - Al Brooks first got me hooked on his comedy with his Oscar-nominated performance in Broadcast News (1988)--one of my favorite movies of all time--in which he plays the role of a reporter longing to be a star anchorman. Brooks's comedies are always full of celebral, yet funny quips--as evident specially in his Lost In America (1985) and Defending Your Life (1991)--which is why I really enjoy his works (He's sometimes described as "a West Coast Woody Allen"). Now he's back with an ambitious but risky attempt at what many consider a no-no subject. In the following interview, Brooks explains why he chose such an eyebrow-raising subject as the theme of his new comedy:

Globe & Mail - Albert Brooks has a confession to make: His new film, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, isn't really about looking for comedy in the Muslim world. In the movie, which he wrote, directed and stars in, he plays a comedian in possession of slim career prospects and a solipsistic mien -- a comedian named Albert Brooks -- who travels to India and Pakistan for one month to find out what makes people there laugh.

It's under the aegis of a U.S. State Department initiative built around the notion that understanding the people of the region might help bridge the cultural chasm between the United States and its current enemies. Not only does the fictional Brooks fail spectacularly to complete his assignment; for good measure, he almost manages to spark a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan.