MOSCOW – The first third of Srdzhan Dragoevich’s new film, The Parade, will bring a smile to even the gloomiest of faces. It’s a silly, rude comedy that is meant to be fun for the viewers.
It is also very much a film with a message about tolerance for homosexuals, as well as for those from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. Just released in Russia, it had a successful run in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, surprising many with its largely warm receptions in places not often known for tolerance of the ‘other.’
In particular, the movie is a call for all Slavs – which includes both Serbians and Russians – to be more accepting of gays. It is a particularly steep climb in Russia, where homosexuality was a crime until 1993 and was considered a mental illness until 1999. Today, 62 percent of the population still considers being gay immoral, and local governments have banned gay pride parades and enacted stringent rules against “homosexual propaganda.”
But the filmmakers are hoping that, like in Serbia, The Parade could open some eyes in Russia. The film’s main characters include a macho Serb nationalist, a gangster and veteran of the Balkan wars, named Limun, and his hysterical and sentimental fiancé, Biserka, who is always dreaming about a beautiful wedding. There is also the elegant designer and devoted gay-rights activist Mirko, and his cowardly boyfriend, a veterinarian named Radmilo.
Limun brings his bulldog, called Little Sugar, into the veterinarian’s clinic, after the dog was the victim of a drive-by shooting. In his stressed state, Limun nearly shoots Radmilo, who almost soils himself as a result, and operates on the dog practically at gunpoint.
At the same time, Biserka hires Mirko to plan her wedding to Limun. Mirko says he will only do the wedding if Limun agrees to provide security from the neo-Nazis and religious extremists for the next gay-pride parade.
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