A homophobic, middle-aged, Serbian gangster ends up sacrificing himself to protect Gay freedom in his country. RADMILO (35) and MIRKO (30) are young and successful gay couple, and they ...
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A homophobic, middle-aged, Serbian gangster ends up sacrificing himself to protect Gay freedom in his country. RADMILO (35) and MIRKO (30) are young and successful gay couple, and they would be a happy couple anywhere else except in - Serbia. They try to live discreetly but still, every day they are abused by the homophobic majority. Plus, Mirko is a gay rights activist, and his dream is to organize the first successful PRIDE event in Belgrade. This is almost a "mission impossible"; in 2001, an attempt to hold PRIDE in Belgrade ended up in bloodshed. One decade later, the situation is not much better - nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations prepare another massacre in case of holding the gay parade, while the police refuse to provide protection for the participants. A strange couple arrives in Radmilo's and Mirko's life - LEMON (45) an ex criminal and war veteran, the owner of a small security company and his fiance - PEARL (30) a beauty parlor owner. Radmilo, a successful ...Written by
Well meant, crowd pleasing, yet riddled with clichés
'Parada' was the most popular film in the Berlin Festival this year, bagging both audience awards yet not the LGBT 'Teddy Award'. That illustrates both its strength and weakness as a film: intended to induce a positive image about homosexuals in a non-gay audience, it does an admirable job in combining drama and comedy, tears and laughs. Yet at the same time, the gay characters are so terribly cliché that, in a different setting, they could be also used to narrate a viciously homophobic story.
That this is not the case is due to the scriptwriting talents of Srdan Dragojevic, who makes every single character, gay or not, a walking cliché of ex-Yugoslavia. The ex-militia gangster, tattooed all over with battle reminders around bullet wounds, resorting to protecting a gay pride march at the behest of his 'slut-with-a-golden-heart' fiancée, is about as credible as the effeminate wedding planner insisting on organizing the pride in spite of organized acts of violence by a group of nationalist skinheads lead by, as it turns out, the gangster's son. Add to this the soft-hearted vet who saves his dog and turns out to be the wedding planner's partner, with whom the gangster embarks on a journey through ex-Yugoslavia to enlist the help of other ex-soldiers, who, for reasons not sufficiently explained, became his friends while being his enemies at the same time... the plot is indeed as convoluted and incredible as this summary sounds like.
Yet Dragojevic's writing constantly adds jokes and situational comedy, he reveals himself here to be indeed the creator of the beloved classic 'We are no Angels'. The eclectic mix between comedy and drama makes this pretty much a must-see, as does the tremendous success 'Parada' enjoyed at home and in its festival run. Just don't expect any real portrayal of gay life in the Balkans; having been born in Romania, I fully understand that for a homosexual in Belgrade, this film must come rather as an offense than a relief. Yet as one cannot explain quantum theory in primary school, the clichés in this film are probably a necessary evil: you have to work with what people already (believe to) know in order to educate them and change their attitude. If this film succeeds in making cliché gays more acceptable in the mainstream, then maybe this will color off into a broader acceptance of the fact that the public knows very little about homosexuality and therefore has no reason to feel threatened by it; in that case 'Parada' would have done its job of opening minds, aside of being a pretty entertaining experience.
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