Like Philadelphia remade as an All in the Family episode, Serbian comedy The Parade uses silliness to tell a serious story about the planning of a gay pride march in Belgrade. When violent skinheads threaten the parade’s organizer, his partner (Milos Samolov) turns to ex-gangster and veteran Limun (Nikola Kojo) for protection. Limun manages to overcome his prejudices while enlisting help from former war rivals. Throughout, writer-director Srdjan Dragojevic navigates a tonal high-wire he doesn’t always stick to: Yuks about two men sharing a hotel bed and taking dumps in battlefields stand at odds with a brutal, terrifying climax. There are several sympathetic gay characters, yet they play to pinky-lifting, catfighting stereotypes. (And, like in Philadelphia, we never see any of them kiss.) But Dragojevic smartly frames their struggle for equality in the shadow of Serbia’s recent wars; Bosnians and Albanians paint over homophobic graffiti with their own nationalist tags. Meanwhile, Limun, playing the Archie Bunker role, takes the hero’s journey of understanding with a charming sort of tone deafness (he fears the “Butt Parliament”).
America may be debating marriage equality, but the rest of the world is still catching up to basic human rights. Isn’t that funny?