ⓘ The Parade (film)

                                     

ⓘ The Parade (film)

The Parade is a 2011 Serbian comedy-drama film, written and directed by Srdan Dragojevic and released on 31 October 2011. The film, which deals with LGBT rights issues in Serbia, features footage of the 2010 Belgrade gay pride parade.

Despite the controversial subject, The Parade sold over 350.000 tickets in Serbian cinemas in the first 11 weeks of distribution, 150.000 in Croatia after 8 weeks, 25.000 in Slovenia, 40.000 in Bosnia-Herzegovina and 20.000 in Montenegro.

                                     

1. Plot

The film introduces a group of gay activists, trying to organize a pride parade in Belgrade. Among them Mirko Dedijer Goran Jevtic, a struggling theater director who mostly makes a living by planning lavish and kitschy wedding ceremonies on the side. Organizing such a parade is no easy task in Serbia as evidenced by the violence at the 2001 parade attempt. Now, almost a decade later, the situation is not much better – nationalist and right wing groups pose just as much threat so despite repeated attempts through official channels, Mirko is getting nowhere since the police refuses to secure the event. Mirkos effeminate boyfriend Radmilo Milos Samolov is a veterinarian – he is not nearly as political and is quite content keeping a low profile. Although the two try to live discreetly, both still experience various forms of abuse from the homophobic majority.

In parallel, we meet Misko Draskovic a.k.a. Limun, a macho Serbian veteran of the Yugoslav Wars in his mid-to-late forties. No stranger to various criminal activities, divorced Limun now operates a judo club that doubles as a bodyguard agency whose clientele mostly consists of controversial nouveau riche businessmen and female turbo-folk singers while dating Biserka Hristina Popovic, a much younger, low-brow ditsy trophy girl who runs a beauty parlour. His son from a previous marriage Vuk Relja Popovic works in an auto repair shop and is a member of a fringe right wing skinhead group that often engages in violence against gay people.

The paths of the two couples cross. Radmilo performs a life-saving operation on Limuns beloved bulldog, the victim of a drive-by shooting that served as warning to the dogs master. Simultaneously, Biserka seeks out Mirko with a view of hiring him to plan out hers and Limuns wedding. The eventual meeting of the two couples goes horribly wrong with Limuns violent and homophobic side emerging, all of which serves as the final catalyst for Mirko who already obtained an Immigrant Visa for Canada to leave the country forever as well as for Biserka to leave Limun.

Biserka decides to stop all contact with Limun but calls Mirko in order to apologize. Radmilo picks up the phone and while learning of the circumstances of Biserkas and Limuns situation realizes an opportunity and hatches up a plan. He then shows up at Limuns agency/judo club offering Mirkos services in organizing the wedding party for Limun and Biserka in return for Limuns personnel securing the gay parade. Limun reluctantly accepts, and though Biserka returns to him as a result of the new development, hes now got another problem as his staff members refuse to protect homosexuals. Seeing no other option, Limun decides to once again step in contact with his former companions, most of them who engaged in petty smuggling across the borders during the Yugoslav wars. Limun and Radmilo embark on a recruiting trip all over ex-Yugoslavia.

They manage to sign up for their mission: Roko 45 a Croat war veteran who now runs a kafana, Halil 50 a Bosniak who owns a video rental parlour, and Azem 45, an Albanian from Kosovo who makes a living by selling drugs, mostly to the US troops stationed there.

                                     

2. Cast

  • Mladen Andrejevic as Dorde, gay activist
  • Relja Popovic as Vuk, Limuns son from a previous marriage
  • Bojan Navojec as Zuko, Rokos brother
  • Marko Nikolic as Bogdan, Radmilos father
  • Milos Samolov as Radmilo
  • Mira Stupica as grannie Olga
  • Natasa Markovic as Lenka, gay activist
  • Uros Duric as Kacamak
  • Goran Navojec as Roko
  • Mladen Nelevic as Boro, assassin for hire
  • Branimir Popovic as Zvonce
  • Radoslav Milenkovic as Kecman, corrupt police inspector
  • Toni Mihajlovski as Azem
  • Goran Jevtic as Mirko, Radmilos partner
  • Sasa Petrovic as Ibro
  • Dejan Acimovic as Halil Zubovic
  • Anita Mancic as Tamara, Limuns ex-wife
  • Hristina Popovic as Biserka, Limuns girlfriend
  • Milan "Strongman" Jovanovic as Afrika
  • Nikola Kojo as Limun
  • Mirjana Durdevic as Radica, Boros wife
  • Milan Maric as Resetka
                                     

3. Production

According to its writer and director Dragojevic, the film was conceived in summer 2001 while he watched the footage of the violence at the attempted gay pride parade in Belgrade. He wrote the first screenplay draft for Parada in 2004 before coming back to it in 2007 after failing to secure financing for his other film project titled 1999. In that time he experimented with framing the screenplay within different genres, but eventually decided that politically incorrect comedy is the best platform to tell this story. He penned the final version of the script over three weeks during summer 2008 while on vacation on the island of Mljet.

By fall 2009, Dragojevic was ready to start shooting with the original plan being to shoot the parade scenes at the actual 20 September 2009 gay pride parade in Belgrade that ended up getting called-off due to security concerns. The shooting actually began a year later at the 2010 parade and continued in late March 2011 on locations in Croatia and Macedonia Bitola.

According to one of its producers Biljana Prvanovic, Parada cost €1.3 million to make and its funding came from European Councils Eurimages fund, Croatian Audio-Visual Center HAVC, Serbian Ministry of Culture, Slovenian Ministry of Culture, Macedonian Ministry of Culture, and embassies of Germany, the Netherlands, and France in Belgrade as well as Serbian companies Dunav Osiguranje, Prva Srpska Televizija, and Serbia Broadband. Dragojevic complained in interviews that over hundred companies in Serbia turned him down for funding due to not wanting to be associated with a gay-themed project.

Listed as the films producers are: Biljana Prvanovic of the Delirium Films from Serbia, Igor Nola from the Croatian Audio-Visual Center HAVC, Eva Rohrman from Slovenias Forum Film, Vladimir Anastasov from Macedonias Sektor Film, and Mike Downey from the UKs Film and Music Entertainment F&ME.



                                     

4.1. Release and box office General theatrical release

After the media screening on 28 October 2011, Parada premiered in Belgrades Sava Centar on Monday, 31 October and in Serbian movie theaters from 1 November. Premiere in Novi Sad was held on November the 1st and in Nis on 18 November. In Montenegro, premiere took place in Podgorica on 16 November.

In late January 2012, Serbian governments Ministry of Education and Science headed by cabinet minister Zarko Obradovic and vice-minister Zoran Kostic, both from the Socialist Party of Serbia SPS) sent out a notice to school boards across Serbia about free screenings of Parada for principals and teachers of elementary and secondary schools, essentially recommending the movie as a work that promotes tolerance. The idea initiated by the movies director Dragojevic was to organize free screenings the expense was covered by the film distributor and movie theater owners for principals and teachers and then leave it up to their discretion whether they want to take their pupils to the cinema at a cut price as part of overall education on homosexuality. Dragojevic managed to get the theater owners to cover the free screenings for principals and teachers because according to Zoran Cvetanovic, the owner of Art vista theaters "the potential of a number of teenagers seeing the film, even at a cut price, meant increased business for us, especially since that demographic was noticeably absent during Parada s commercial theatrical run". Some, such as Miodrag Sokic, the president of Belgrades gymnasia forum, criticized the fact that the Ministry decided to support someones private commercial project: "In the last four years since this ruling coalition has been in power, no other movie got a recommendation from the Ministry in this manner. Supporting a movie, even as an extracurricular activity, is meddling in the school curriculum and that is serious stuff. I dont blame the movies director Dragojevic, but I really have a problem with the Ministrys recommendation".

In March and April 2012, Serbian police arrested several individuals suspected of participating in online copyright infringement and illegal distribution of film copies.

The premieres in Bosnia and Herzegovina were respectively held, only in Republika Srpska entity, on 7 November in Bijeljina and on 10 December in Banja Luka,

In Croatia, premieres were held in December – December 12 in Zagreb, December 13 in Rijeka and December 14 in Split. For a time there were discussions over whether the film will be shown with subtitles in Croatia, but in the end the distributor decided against it. Much like in Serbia, the Croatian theatrical audience also responded in great numbers. After its first day of general release in the country on seven screens across Croatia, Parada was seen by 1.500 people, which according to the local distributor is on par with Hollywood blockbuster openings in Croatia. Initially projected to sell more than 60.000 admission tickets in the country, which would be more than all Croatian films combined sell recently in a single year, Parada ended up selling more than 150.000 thus overtaking 2005s Sto je muskarac bez brkova? at the second spot of the Croatian all-time theater list first is still 1996s Kako je poceo rat na mom otoku with more than 200.000. Final figure of tickets sold reached almost 170.000. In mid March the film got refused from Visia cinema in Dubrovnik thats managed by the Catholic Churchs local diocese. Since that particular movie theater is the only operational one in the entire city, Parada effectively got banned from the city of Dubrovnik. Explaining the decision, Mate Uzinic, the bishop of Dubrovnik, listed two reasons for refusal of Parada – first, that it promotes sin and homosexual lifestyle, and secondly, that "it present a view of the Homeland War that the Dubrovnik Diocese cant get behind".

In Macedonia the premiere was held in Skopje on 16 December, followed by Bitola on the 17th. In Slovenia, the premiere was held in Ljubljana on December 20. By early March 2012, the film got a golden ribbon in Slovenia for 25.000 admission tickets sold in the countrys theaters. So far only Slovenian productions or co-productions were able to reach the figure, the last one being 2001s No Mans Land.

On 25 January, the film started playing in theaters in Bosnia and Herzegovinas other entity, Federacija BiH, though no special event premieres were held there. The movie soon reached the 18.000 admission tickets figure.

From 2 March, the film went into theatrical release in Austria, following a premiere at Viennas UCI Kinowelt Millennium City multiplex.

                                     

4.2. Release and box office Festival circuit

The film has been accepted for the 2012 Berlinales Panorama programme as the only film from former Yugoslavia out of twenty that applied for the festival. At the festival, the movies producers struck a distribution deal for the French market with Sophie Dulac Distribution as well as a distribution deal for the Bulgarian market. The film had a premiere showing in Berlin on 13 February 2012, as well as two more press screenings. Parada received the Panorama Audience Award for feature film among 23.500 votes. It also won the Siegessaule German LGBT magazine readers award as well as the Ecumenical Jury representing the Protestant and Catholic Churches international film organisations – Interfilm and Signis special mention.

                                     

5. Full list of international festivals and awards

Berlinale Film Festival Panorama Audience Award Fiction Film, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Reader Jury of the "Siegessaule" award

Torino GLBT film festival Audience award

Galway film festival Best international film award

Odessa Jury of the International Federation Of Film Clubs – Best Film

Freiburg film festival Audience award

Pula Zlatna Arena za najbolji scenario Zlatna Arena za najbolju glumicu – Hristina Popovic

Festroia – Setubal – Portugal Grand prix – Golden Dolphin Audience Award

Prishtina Red Goddess – Best Balkan film

MedFilm Rome Grand Prix

Montpellier film festival audience award

Festival Cinema Mediterraneen de Bruxelles Prix du Public – audience award

Tirana International film festival best director award – Srdjan Dragojevic, best editor award – Petar Markovic



                                     

6. Serbian Festivals and Awards

FIPRESCI award for best film and best actor in 2011.

Cinema City International Film Festival in Novi Sad Audience award

Sofest Sopot Best editor and best actress

Screenplay Festival Vrnjacka Banja Best original screenplay

The Parade is in selection with other 19 movies for "European Oscar" award of EFA European Film Academy

Admissions

Latest admission summation, on 1 April 2012 is:

Serbia / Montenegro / Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina – 336.857

Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina – 23.000

Croatia – 163.227

Republic of Macedonia – 11.000

Slovenia – 31.588

Summary in region: 565.590

                                     

7. DVD Release

DVD release is scheduled for 3rd week of April. It contains a full length theatrical movie version, Serbian and international trailer, and extras – 1 hour making of featuring Srdjan Dragojevic, Goran Jevtic, Nikola Kojo & Milos Samolov. Furthermore, audio commentaries from Srdjan Dragojevic, Nikola Kojo and Milos Samolov.

                                     

8. Reaction

Press Branko Rosic gave the film a highly favourable notice, comparing its "hilarious dialogues" to Dragojevics highly regarded earlier works, such as Lepa sela lepo gore and Rane.

Danas columnist and well-known Serbian novelist Svetislav Basara wrote about Parada in his regular column, praising its narrative form and extolling its virtue.

Another established Serbian writer, Marko Vidojkovic, devoted one of his columns in Kurir to the movie, describing the experience of watching Parada in one of Belgrades multiplexes. Since at the time of his column, the movie was already a verified box office hit, approaching 200.000 admissions in Serbia alone, Vidojkovic praised Dragojevic for "effectively organizing the biggest pride parade in the Balkans in his trademark Malcolm McLarenesque manner".

The movies and its directors politics also sparked reaction in the Serbian non-mainstream and fringe media. Ajla Terzic of the far-left portal Pescanik refers to Parada as the cinematic equivalent of kavurma, a cheap cholesterol-filled dish thats "consumed by lowbrow and low income masses who do so because it is affordable, thus disregarding its horrendous nutritional effects". Bozidar Maslac of the centre-right portal NSPM concentrated on the movies poster in his notice, feeling that it "ripped-off the Belgrade Zoo logo" and seeing it as yet another plagiarism in Dragojevics cinematic career. Jelena Durovics of the far left-wing Agitpop take on Parada is prefaced with an admission of a personal crush on Srdan Dragojevic she developed back in the early 1990s when he first appeared on the Serbian public scene, which was followed by a long list of personal disappointments in him due to her having problems with the political, ideological, and sociological aspects of his career choices and movies. However, she likes the politics of Parada and claims to be back to square one with Dragojevic.

Republika Srpska vice-president Emil Vlajki wrote at length about Parada in Fokus daily, seeing it as another tool of the US-sponsored "mental genocide" while labeling Dragojevic "a talented director who sold his soul to the devil for fistful of dollars".

Following its 12 December premiere showing in Zagreb, Parada got a short affirmative notice from Vecernji list s Milena Zajovic. Similarly, after the Split premiere two days later, Slobodna Dalmacija s Marko Njegic wrote an affirmative report from the event.

Croatian novelist Ante Tomic wrote about Parada in his regular Slobodna Dalmacija column, praising it as "an example of marvelous artistic manipulation where the author shamelessly used horrendous politically incorrect technique to make a film that, when viewed as an overall unit, couldnt be more politically correct".

Mima Simic, Croatian film critic and an LGBT activist, touched on the film and its commercial success during her interview for BH Dani, calling it "calculated and cunning work whose main goal is to regain audiences of former Yugoslavia and win Western markets". She further thinks the subject of gay rights as a symbol of transition in eastern Europe is "a gold mine that Dragojevic is fully taking advantage of". She concludes by saying the film shows the Balkans are beginning to understand that "its not really OK to beat up gays".

In parallel with its domestic theatrical success, Parada started receiving notices and getting reviewed abroad. One of the first notices was Paul Cannings on international LGBT website Care2 followed by a notice in Screen International as the film posted great numbers in Serbian and Croatian cinemas. It was also the subject of an affirmative entry by Phil Hoad on his blog on The Guardian website.

With the films showing at the 2012 Berlinale, Parada received affirmative notices in major outlets such as Reuters, Der Spiegel, Agence France-Presse, and LOrient Le Jour, as well as online outlets such as Gay Star News, Splitsider, and Europa.

Following the Catholic Churchs decision to ban the film in Dubrovnik, Parada got a notice from Associated Press as well as another one from Reuters.



                                     

9.1. Critical reception Serbia

In the mainstream Serbian print media, the film received generally positive reviews and notices. Politika s Dubravka Lakic stated that, by "employing shallow, occasionally lowbrow humour delivered through effective jokes and quick yucks", Dragojevic made a "thoroughly watchable, rhythmically populist film that sends out a call to tolerance and a message that love always triumphs".

Blic s Milan Vlajcic classified the film as a "bitterly unbridled comedy that significantly departs from what usually constitutes a situation comedy in Serbia". He went on to compare Parada s "uncontrolled and slightly anarchic humour, filthy street lingo, and playing with stereoypes" with Mel Brooks Producers and Ernst Lubitschs Ninotchka, concluding that Dragojevic "avoided banal moralizing while packing the film with funny stereotypes".

Danas Pavle Simjanovic compares aspects of Parada with Mike Nichols The Birdcage and even Norman Jewisons The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming while expressing concern that Dragojevics film wont have the intended effect of "ridding the stubborn majority of its phobias towards this stigmatized minority" because the director at some point stopped making a comedy and instead turned to creating a political pamphlet.

The movie got its most glowing review from Miroljub Stojanovic writing NIN magazine who sees Parada as "an uncompromising, subtle, and primarily intelligent film, which examines todays Serbia with such minutia that it possess all the qualities of hyperrealism". He concludes by saying that Parada is not only the Serbian societys ultrasound, it is its MRI".

Writing for B92 radio-televisions web portal, in a mixed review Slobodan Vujanovic feels that though it causes many of the films faults, Parada topicality is a sign of bravery and virtue on Dragojevics part. He further sees "this satirical comedy with a sad ending" as a "rough, arrogant, objective, and angry criticism of our society as well as the sociopathic nature of some inhabitants of former Yugoslavia who dont mind being soaked in human blood up to their elbows, but wont be caught dead shaking hands with a faggot". While approving of Parada comedic aspects, Vujanovic has issues with the moral stance of its satirical ones, feeling that some the films cliche characters, especially the former wartime adversaries "all of whom are psychopaths who engaged in some horrible stuff during the war", receive an undue redemption.

The reviews in the Serbian online media are more mixed. Although he still gave Parada passing marks, Popboks Dorde Bajic has problems with the films overall tone and its "lack of tact and subtlety", concluding that it "hits the target when it comes to delivering a loud and unconstrained pastime, but fails when it tries to be anything more than that". The review by KakavFilm.com is essentially more of the same while the review published by Filmovanje.com feels Parada couldve been a great movie had Dragojevic been more direct, brave, and worthwhile" concluding that "as it is, at times, youre not sure whether youre watching Tesna koza or Sisanje ". Writing for far-left portal E-novine, Vladan Petkovic was extremely critical, seeing Parada as "nothing more than a marketing trick" while citing its main problem to be the fact that "protagonists are caricatures while antagonists are stereotypes". He continues: "Dragojevic tried his hardest to pack the film with witty dialogues and thus provide new material for the Balkan movie audiences favourite activity – citing movie one-liners. And I must say I laughed a few times at some original jokes, but for that to truly work well, the movie must be good as a whole unit, which Parada isnt. It stays in the realm of politically correct fuck-about thats camouflaged in political incorrectness". On the other hand, Marko Radojicic of medio.rs gave Parada a particularly favourable review, praising its casting, direction, attention to detail as well as its overall message, and City Magazine gave the film another glowing review, calling it Dragojevics best work. The film also received online notices from Slobodan Georgijev in BalkanInsight.



                                     

9.2. Critical reception Bosnia and Herzegovina

Though still not widely reviewed, it got a negative notice from RS newspaper Nezavisne novine s Branko Tomic who commends the movies trailer, but reprimands Dragojevic for "not being brave enough to shake up Serbia out if its slumber by showing it a passionate gay kiss". He further feels that the public set "big social expectations for the movie based upon the trailer and the directors earlier works", but thinks they will not be met and that the movie will disappear in the viewers minds shortly after leaving the theater.

Though it did not start playing in Federation BiHs cinemas until 25 January, Parada got some online reviews even before that date. Mirko V. Ilic of depo.ba gave the film a negative review, seeing it as a "mixture of camp comedy first 100 minutes and drama about two Serbias the rest of the film" and labeling the former "solid, well directed, and not bad" and the latter "unbearably bad". He further feels the movie is calculated and disingenuous for not showing a gay kiss and thinks "the movie will not help cure the Balkaniod Belgrade whose prominent representative is also Dragojevic himself judging by his previous films".

                                     

9.3. Critical reception Croatia

Vjesnik published a positive review with Bozidar Trkulja seeing Parada to be about various forms of love, which Dragojevic "skillfully mixes and frames into a compact, humour-laden, and pleasant cinematic experience".

The review by Jutarnji list s Jurica Pavicic is punctuated by his claim that "gifted cynic Dragojevic who primarily possesses propensity and capacity for ridicule and whose previous movies are built on superior and often antipathetic sarcasm. has finally delivered something which he never did before – a movie with lots of tenderness". In between comparing aspects of Parada with films by Akira Kurosawa and John Sturges, Pavicic praises the actors, criticizes the films production design, and concludes by praising Parada as a "lovable, shamelessly and purposely populist work that gives you a bitter political lesson wrapped in cotton candy".

Writing in Novosti, the weekly aimed at the Serb minority in Croatia, Kino Radic gives the film an extremely negative review, feeling that Dragojevic "turned to hyperbolization of stereotypes, both gay and ethnic, in order to be ideologically controversial as well as to, through populism, attract a large audience, all of which wouldve been fine had the movie been uproariously funny, but it is dominantly unfunny and, as it goes on, increasingly boring". He further reproaches Dragojevic for "drastically losing the rhythm" and calls him out for "ideological malice which the director already exhibited previously in Lepa sela lepo gore and now continued in Parada through the Albanian narcodealer character who is not only the most deplorable of all criminals in the multiethnic group, but also has the most perverse sexual habits having once engaged in a sexual act with a zebra and giving it an STD, all of which is supposed to be funny".

Mladen Sagovac of moj-film.hr concentrates more on Parada s political than stylistic aspects in his positive review, and in this regard singles out the character of Mirko "whose transformation from effeminately feeble gay person into a confrontational one represents both a call to reason and a war cry that will surely serve to soften the bizarre, nationalistically-rooted, anti-gay views of the people across Balkans". Marcella Jelic of tportal.hr gave Parada a negative review, feeling Dragojevic made "a series of morally deeply problematic decisions in the film, the most obvious of which is presenting hardened criminals, chauvinists, war profiteers, and thugs as sympathetic and charming characters". She concludes by exclaiming: "Still, Id be willing to forgive all of its shortcomings had Parada been truly funny, but it isnt except in a few rare moments. As it is, its only saving grace is that its noble aim justifies its means. Its just too bad its means are so boring". Robert Jukic of film-mag.net also didnt like the film, seeing it as "a fairly uneven product that balances between comedy and drama in which Dragojevic sinks his teeth into some hot topics such as corruption and war profiteering, but the end result is pale and aloof". He also feels its humour is forced and pandering while expressing doubt whether the movie will appeal to Croatian cinema-going public "because homophobia is not such a big problem in our country like it is in the neighbouring one".

All Srdjan Dragojevic`s Parades



                                     

9.4. Critical reception Slovenia

review by Delo – the greatest Pride Parade review by Simon Popek

                                     

9.5. Critical reception Abroad

With its showing at the 2012 Berlinale, the movie started getting reviewed abroad.

Calling Parada "a rude and raunchy challenge to Balkan homophobia", Screen International s Mark Adams praises "broad comedy fare that revels in its stereotyping and takes no prisoners" as well as Dragojevic for "directing with a good deal of intelligence and being very much aware that his unsubtle characters offer an entertaining look at the culture clash between brutal Balkan machismo and a gay community".

On the other hand, Jay Weissberg of Variety disliked the movie very much, writing: Parada sees itself as a genial satire, but Srdan Dragojevics tired and tiresome caricatures are just embarrassing. Using formulaic traits – effeminate gay men, over-macho nationalists – to convince audiences to confront their homophobia might work for anyone still thinking Paul Lynde is fresh, but viewers whove watched gay-themed pictures mature since the 1970s will cringe at this naively well-meaning but hopelessly dated farce".

In The Hollywood Reporter, Karsten Kastelan writes, "In this hilarious, raunchy comedy directed by Srdjan Dragojevic, a homophobic gangster is charged with protecting a gay pride parade in Belgrade".

Paul Hockenos reviewed the film in Boston Review in July 2012.

                                     

10. Awards

Serbia

Fipresci Srbija – best feature film in 2011.

Fipresci Srbija – Nikola Kojo – best male role in 2011.

International

Berlin International Film Festival 2012: Panorama Audience Award for Fiction Film

Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention

Reader Jury of the "Siegessaule" at 26th Teddy Awards

                                     
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