[Editor’s Note : The Parade was screened at the on-going Kashish Queer Film Festival in Mumbai]
The Parade is based on the story of Belgrade’s first successful Pride Parade in 2010, where 1000 men & women needed 5000 police to protect them from attacks by the neo-Nazis and other hooligans. The only difference between the successful march of 2010 and the first Pride march of 2001, was the fact that the government finally provided its citizens with protection. In 2001, marchers were brutally attacked, injured and killed by neo-Nazis and other protesters, while the police stood by.
Director Srdjan Dragojevic guides us through the stories of a gay couple, Mirko & Radmilo, and a straight couple Lemon & his fiancé Pearl. After a drive by shooting, Lemon rushes his pit-bull to the vet, Radmilo, who is taken aback by Lemon’s pompous behavior. It’s not too long before they cross paths again, but this time at Mirko’s (a wedding planner) store, where Lemon and Pearl are looking at wedding outfits. This time however, Mirko is at the receiving end of Lemon’s thug like mannerisms. After an argument, Mirko is thrown to the ground and cuts his head open. As Radmilo tends to Mirko’s injuries, Mirko tells him about how he had applied for a Canadian Visa and how perhaps the time had come for him to leave.
Radmilo is now faced with the fear of permanently losing his loved one and the life they have built together. Simultaneously we see that Pearl, having had enough of Lemon’s pompousness, has left him. Both Radmilo and Lemon are now forced into doing almost anything to keep the person they love. Radmilo makes a deal with Lemon; Lemon’s security company will provide security to the upcoming Pride parade, and in exchange his partner, Mirko, will plan a lovely wedding for Lemon and Pearl. And thus begins a very unexpected journey of acceptance and friendship between Radmilo and Lemon.
The most unexpected group of criminals and war veterans from Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Albania are tasked with protecting their new friends despite the police’s decline at providing any manpower, even as hundreds of neo-Nazis surround them. An idealistic Mirko motivates his friends to fight one last time, telling them that the years of hiding in the shadows is more painful than the beating they are about to receive; a thought that every part of the liberated gay world has once felt.
While political incorrectness and derogatory terms are strewn about, they do not seem out of place with the character of Lemon and his thug friends that we are introduced to. The movie through all it’s humor and stereotypes, does a fantastic job of portraying Lemon as he overcomes his homophobia and develops an unshakable friendship with Radmilo.