FEATURE: THE PARADE @ Human Rights Watch FF Toronto

THE PARADE brings the global conversation on gay rights into focus in Serbia, France and Canada…


This month, THE PARADE is highlighted in a screening at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in Toronto, Canada. Srdjan Dragojevic’s darkly humorous film turns a lens on a very real issue being debated right now in Serbia and the rest of the world.

Joël Coppens, a former intern and native Belgian, came across a clip of THE PARADE being discussed on the major French talk show On est pas couché. Joël translated some of the conversation, and weighed in with some of his own thoughts: 

In January, the feminist writer Caroline Fourest appeared as a guest on the famous French talk show “On est pas couché,” which airs on the French public television channel France 2, to discuss THE PARADE (Global Lens 2013). 

At a time when there is a debate about “marriage for everybody” in France, the French press is paying attention to director Srdjan Dragojevic’s film. In this context the introduction of the movie had a special flavor on the set of “On est pas couché.”

As said Caroline Fourest: ”It’s really important to watch it [THE PARADE] now.  If people can understand what happens in Serbia, maybe they’ll become more open-minded to talk about it in France.  The story is based on real facts.  There was only one Gay Pride in Serbia in 2010 with few demonstrators.  5,600 policemen had been required because 6,000 Neo Nazi wanted to attack the parade.”

In 2011 the Serbian government banned the Belgrade Pride Parade. Ivica Dacic (The Serbia’s Minister of the Interior from 2008 until 2012) said that the police force wasn’t capable of maintaining public order.

Laurent Ruquier, the host of the show, was enthusiastic about the film as well: “It’s a surprising film. People shouldn’t miss it! The Serbian comedians, who aren’t famous in France, have incredible faces!  It’s the meeting between homophobic mercenaries and gay people in one of the most homophobic European countries.  The movie is so funny and with some surprises at the end. The French must watch The Parade!”

Natacha Polony and Aymeric Caron, the two critics on “On est pas couché” were also thrilled. “That’s very well shot! We can imagine the true situation. Everybody has to watch it to understand homophobia,” said Natacha Polony.

Aymeric Caron underlined a greater point: “The Parade doesn’t show only homophobia but also social rejection in general. The best movie I’ve watched in months. And it’s more interesting because this is a Serbian movie.”

Laurent Ruquier concluded the review by quoting a Figaro Magazine article review of the film: “A film to reconcile, temporarily, by its aesthetic, supporters and opponents of the homosexual marriage in France.”

And he added: “We don’t need to be homosexual or of The Left to like The Parade”. I am glad that the talk show offered a nice visibility to the Srdjan Dragojevic’s movie and that it wasn’t only a pretext to open the debate on the set.  The role of a cultural product like a film is varied, but it should participate in opening minds. 

taken from an episode of On est pas couché

parade image

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival, in showcasing the film and highlighting the human rights issues that are deftly handled there, has something to add to the conversation as well:

Gay men and lesbian women face fierce discrimination in Serbia. Whenever they want to organise a Gay Pride parade, they are attacked by hooligans and not protected by Serbian authorities. Human Rights Watch has documented several of these homophobic attacks. Together with local Serbian organisations, Human Rights Watch met with government officials, members of parliament, judges, lawyers, and other stakeholders in order to advocate for freedom of expression, association and assembly.

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival

To read more on the Human Rights Watch and their showing of THE PARADE, click here. And if you are in the Toronto area, make sure to join the global conversation by attending the screening on March 4th.

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