While huge strides have been made for both gay rights and acceptance of homosexuality in a lot of European countries, things still remain difficult in many of the former Communist countries. However a film called The Parade is helping to break down barriers in the Balkans.
The AP reports on the fact the movie, from a Serbia director, is now the biggest box office hit in the former Yugoslavia in years, even as it challenges both the region’s ethnic divide and its deeply rooted homophobia.
While tensions still remain between Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia, all three countries seems keen on The Parade, with director Srdjan Dragojevic commenting, “The whole region is united for the first time in liking this film.”
The Parade, which won a trio of gongs at the Berlin Film Festival, is about a gay couple in the Serbian capital of Belgrade who try to organise a gay pride event in the face of threats and violence from far-right groups. To help them they recruit a Serbian war veteran to protect the parade; who enlists a ragtag group of former fighters, including a Croatian, a Bosnian Muslim and a Kosovo Albanian.
While The Parade is a humourous film promoting both unity and diversity, some gay rights activists have had issues over whether the film actually will promote gay rights. However the director says about his film, “It is very important for people to recognise the simple message that it is irrelevant what nationality you are, how you pray or who you go to bed with.”
Incredibly in Bosnia, The Parade has been more popular than movie like Avatar, while the film sold 150,000, which is incredibly impressive in a country with only four million people.