Serbian Parade arrives in Berlin
by Boyd van Hoeij
Already a huge hit back home and in the neighbouring Balkan countries, the Serbian comedy The Parade [+see also:
film profile] had its international premiere in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival. It is one of the major titles vying for the Teddy Award, the festival’s cross-section prize for best feature with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual or queer content.
The film, directed by poet-turned-director Srdjan Dragojevic, tells the rather unusual story of a former paramilitary soldier and thug, Lemon (Nikola Kojo). He’s a macho man who runs a judo school and a security firm in Belgrade after a dark and shady past. Like many of his war-time buddies and his son, he is openly homophobic, though his favourite film is Ben Hur.
After an assassination attempt on his dog and some convincing from his extremely pacifist and robust fiancée, Pearl (Hristina Popovic), a rather unlikely solution for their upcoming wedding is found - gay wedding planner Radmilo (Milos Samolov) and his partner, Mirko (Goran Jevtic) will plan the extraordinary day for them in exchange for his protection during the 2009 gay pride.
The film obviously toys with clichés, not only the many clichés that exist about gay people but also the countless clichés involving the different factions that fought each other during the wars in the early 1990s.
Though Dragojevic, who also wrote the screenplay, tries to get too much mileage out of the repetition of these clichés, there are quite a few moments of non-homophobic humour that hit the mark, including a hilarious shot of Lemon standing in the doorway of his own bedroom as he looks at his wife sleeping — as in resting — with a lesbian activist in their bed, with the antlers of a deer on the wall right behind him.
Wide Management in Paris is selling the box-office hit, which generated more than half a million tickets in the former Yugoslavian countries and internationally.
It was produced by Serbian outfit Delirium Films, in co-production with Mainframe from Zagreb; Sektor Film from Skopje; Forum Film from Ljubljana; Film & Music Entertainment from London and commercial Serbian TV station 1 PRVA.