A hilarious feature film at this year’s Human Rights Watch film fest
Homophobia in Serbia is a porcupine that nobody wants to touch. Srdjan Dragojevic, however, wrestled that porcupine to the ground and turned it on its head with his film The Parade. It’s a comedy with blunt political incorrectness that pokes fun at Balkan macho culture, stereotypes and homophobia right from the opening credits.
The film follows a fictional group of gay activists trying to organize a Pride parade in Belgrade. Their plans go nowhere as police refuse to secure the event. Mirko, theatre director and wedding planner for the wealthy, is one of the main activists who, along with his super-gay partner Radmilo, experiences abuse from the homophobic majority regularly.
Lead character Lemon -- war veteran, judo instructor and security guard to female folk singers and nouveau-riche businessmen -- gets involved with a neo-Nazi skinhead, a bulldog and an epic road trip across Yugoslavia.
The film is very entertaining. While it develops inner drama as the movie progresses, it calls for acceptance and open minds, showing that Balkans are beginning to understand that it’s really not okay to beat up gays. It may still be a very homophobic culture, and the movie doesn’t even touch deeper issues that affect gays, like police corruption, but it’s an interesting view into the culture in a part of the world some of us gays might not know a lot about. —Drasko Bogdanovic
The Parade plays at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Mon, March 4; Wed, March 20; and Thurs, March 21. ff.hrw.org/film/parade