The Parade – Movie Review Human Rights Watch Film Festival

The Parade – Photo Credit – Delirium Films

March 8 2013 – It is said that comedy can be an effective vehicle for addressing divisive issues. And although Gay Pride parades are celebrated around the world, they still encounter varying degrees of acceptance and in some countries none at all. The Parade is a wonderful example of movie making which begins as just another meaningless comedy, but develops drama license to delivering a more meaningful story of tolerance, and understanding. 

Director, Srdjan Dragojevic sets out the movies position right from the get go with a series of glossary slang terms – ‘Shiptar’ (derogatory term for Kosovar Albanians), ‘Chetnik’ (for Serbs), ‘Ustasha’ (for Croats) and ‘Balija’ (for Bosnians) – that the various factions in the Yugoslavian war used about each other…but ends pointing out that the term ‘Peder’ is the one that unites the factions when they refer to homosexuals.

The two worlds collide when the stone faced Mickey Lemon (Nikola Kojo), an ex-criminal and war veteran has to rush his pet pit-bull terrier to the vet after it is the victim of a drive-by shooting. The dog is saved by vet Radmilo (Milos Samolov), who is appalled by Lemon’s bombastic behavior. Mirko (Goran Jevtic) is the cliched flamboyant partner of Radmillo who runs an wedding planning agency that has been tapped by Lemon’s fiancee Pearl (Hristina Popović) to organise their wedding.

Gay activist Mirko, who is planning Belgrade’s Pride march, balks about the thought of organising the event but eventually agrees on one condition, that Lemon, who runs a judo school and security company, agrees to provide security for the march. Lemon reluctantly agrees, but when his staff all refuse to protect the marchers he is forced recruit his old enemies from his war-time days, and heads off on a road tip with Radmilo in his bright pink mini.   They manage to sign up Croat Roko (Goran Navojec), Bosnian Muslim Halil (Dejan Aćimovic) and Kosovo Albanian Azem (Toni Mihajlovski) as they return to Belgrade to face their greatest challenge…protecting the marchers for marauding homophobic skinheads.

Idealistic in its intentions, The Parade shows that even the least tolerant among us can change. And we see this change in the slow transformation of Lemon’s opinion toward homosexuals especially with the inside joke relating to the Ben Hur scene. With humour, this movie add to the growing catelogue of  gay films helping to break the walls of prejudice so people see that there’s nothing wrong with being gay. It’s a very refreshing movie on the Balkan scene, and its situational comedy will make you laugh while tearing at your heart. 

Verdict: 3.5 / 5 – Parade marches to the beat of a comedic drum.

The Parade
Dir: Srdjan Dragojevic
Serbia / Croatia / FYROM / Slovenia
2011 / 111 minutes / 14A

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