Thursday, 10 November 2011

Video: New film makes light of Serbia's Gay Parade

By Paul Canning

A bizarre new comedy has just hit the screens in Serbia. 'Parade the movie' is about the struggle of a group of activists to stage a Gay Pride Parade in Belgrade.

The film, by Srđan Dragojević, centres on a group of activists who have - like the real life activists - been refused police protection. But in the film the group then decides to hire some war criminals to protect them at the parade instead.

The actual Belgrade Pride Parade was banned last month following threats of mass violent counter-demonstrations organized by nationalists and fanatical Christian Orthodox supporters. Observers say that the ban was about politics and upcoming elections.

Dragojević, says he first thought of this subject for a film in 2001 while he watched the footage of the violent scenes at the first attempted Gay Pride Parade in Belgrade.

"For me this is quite a realistic film," Dragojevic told the media at the press launch.

Dragojevic previously made the award-winning film "Lepa Sela Lepo Gore" ("Pretty Village, Pretty Flame") set in the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

The main characters are Mirko (Goran Jevtić), a struggling theater director who mostly makes a living by planning and organizing kitschy wedding ceremonies on the side, and his love struck boyfriend Radmilo (Miloš Samolov). One of Mirko's clients - ditzy trophy girl Biserka (Hristina Popović) - introduces them to her fiance Limun (Nikola Kojo), a Serbian veteran of the Yugoslav Wars who operates a bodyguard agency whose clients are mostly controversial nouveau riche businessmen and female turbo-folk singers. Radmilo gets an idea to hire Limun to provide security services for their gay parade, however, macho and staunchly traditional Limun wants no part of it and kicks Radmilo out under threat of violence. This infuriates Biserka who is ready to leave him over the issue.

In order to appease his girlfriend, Limun agrees to do the job. However, in order to keep his reputation he decides not to use his regular security associates, but instead goes on the road with Radmilo across former Yugoslavia to hire his former war adversaries from the opposite sides with whom he kept in contact through various criminal activities since the war ended.

"Would people who have definitely committed such crimes defend a minority like the LGBT population? That is an issue for me," says Boban Stojanovic of the gay lobby group Queeria.

A gay reviewer on IMDB wrote:

"The main gay characters are very stereotypical. The transformation of Nikola Kojo's character Limun from partly homophobic to tolerable person feels very forced."

Blic's Milan Vlajčić compared the film with with Mel Brooks' "The Producers".

Politika's Dubravka Lakić said that, by "employing shallow, occasionally lowbrow humour delivered through effective jokes and quick yucks", Dragojević made a "thoroughly watchable, rhythmically populist film that sends out a call to tolerance and a message that love always triumphs".

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