Serbian Gay Movie The Parade Eases Homophobia, Ethnic Tensions In The Balkans

Serbia isn’t exactly the most LGBT-friendly country in Europe—attempts to throw Pride parades have been met with suppression and violence—but a new gay-themed movie there isn’t just rockin’ the box office, it’s challenging long-held cultural and anti-gay prejudices.

Winner of the audience-favorite award at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival, Serbian filmmaker Srdjan Dragojevic’s The Parade is a black comedy about a gay couple from Belgrade who hire a war vet to protect their upcoming Pride march. He, in turn, hires a rag-tag bunch of fighters from Bosnia, Albania and Croatia to provide some extra muscle.

Call it The Fabulous Seven—or maybe The LGB-Team. (Okay, we’ll stop.)

Released in October, The Parade is the biggest blockbuster in the region in ages—drawing more than a half-million viewers—and is equally popular across the former Yugoslavia’s various republics. (No mean feat given the brutal wars and ethnic cleansing there in the 1990s.)

“The whole region is united for the first time in liking this film,” Dragojevic tells the AP. Given the suffering and devastation the Balkans have seen, he says “it is very important for people to recognize… that it is irrelevant what nationality you are, how you pray or who you go to bed with.”