The runaway gay-themed Serbian dark comedy hit The Parade picked up the audience award for best film in the esteemed Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival on Sunday.
The film, written and directed by Srdjan Dragojevic, follows the wacky exploits of two unlikely comrades, a gay veterinarian and a shady homophobic Balkan war veteran, as they traverse the many lands of what was once Yugoslavia in their quest to collect the perfect protection squad for a gay pride march in Belgrade, the Serbian capital.
The flick has already been a huge mainstream hit in the Balkan region, and one of Serbia’s highest-ever grossing movies — no mean feat in a country where homophobia is still rampant.
Both of Belgrade’s only real-life LGBT pride marches, in 2001 and 2010, were wracked by violence from ultra-nationalists and other anti-gay protestors. City officials banned the 2011 gay parade.
Yet by shamelessly playing on regional stereotypes across the board, Dragojevic has created a black comedy with a powerful overriding theme of tolerance.
“I made a film for homophobes with a funny, but clear, message,” he told German news mag Der Spiegel last week.