We forgot that a film can make the world a better place
A film is as good as the number of hearts it reaches, as much trace it leaves in people. Everything else is simplification.
After its success in cinemas in ex – Yugoslavian countries and an award at this years’ Berlinale, THE PARADE arrives to the European Film Festival Palić, and it will be shown in the Official Selection. We talked to Srđan Dragojević, screenwriter and director, apart from Parade, about his views concerning film art and its social role.
How do you explain the success of THE PARADE in the cinemas? It was seen by 600,000 viewers. How much does this success coincide with your statement that THE PARADE “is the first real regional film about peace on the Balkans”?
Not one film so far had the same number of viewers in the two entities in Bosnia, the Serbian and the Bosnian. Everyone is trying to hide it, especially in Bosnia. Now, everyone is trying to minimize the success of THE PARADE because it clearly shows tows two things. The first one is that cooperation of artists from ex – Yugoslavia is a necessity and it’s the only way to make good films. This doesn’t sit well with the film “barons” in the region. They all have their little states, funds and politicians. They find their way best when it comes to division and animosity, and not cooperation. The other matter is even more dangerous to the current “owners” of cinematographies in these small countries. For years now, they advocate the thesis that only a festival film has quality, and that the number of viewers is inversely proportional to its quality. THE PARADE crushes that concept to the bone. With 600,000 viewers, THE PARADE participated in the official selection of the Berlin Film Festival where it won three awards. It has been a few decades since a Serbian film won an award at that Festival. And lo and behold, it was just the “commercial” film, as they pejoratively call it, that did it.
Do you believe that watching THE PARADE can change someone’s negative attitude toward the gay population? Did you by any chance hear of it happening?
There are hundreds of examples. On a greater scale, the one where the Croatian Minister of Social Welfare, inspired by the film, publicly invites the Croatian veterans of war to protect “Pride” in Split is interesting. It’s great when life imitates art, and not the other way round. The other example is more personal, intimate. A young man, originally from Bosnia, who emigrated to London because he is gay and was fed up with “bearing that cross” in a traditional environment, receives a phone call from his parents who live in Bosnia, and who saw THE PARADE in the cinema. Even though they never spoke about it, they tell him that they love him no matter what. F.ck awards, positive criticisms, in comparison with this.
THE PARADE will be shown at the Palić Festival, which promotes European cinematography. What is your opinion of the contemporary European film?
I don’t like those divisions to European, American, Asian, chick, commercial, art-house films. A film is either good or bad. It is as good as the number of hearts it reaches, as much trace it leaves in people. Everything else is simplification. It gives me the creeps when I hear a story about a battle against American films. The only battle is not against, but for a good film. If you do want simplification, it is a global trend that the films have become “selfish”, that their creators are selfish, here and “overseas”, too. They totally express that “religion of individualism”. In America, that individualism is reduced to enhancing the material status of the creator of the film, and in Europe to reaching the intellectual and social status. “I am an author” and “I am a star” are very similar concepts for me. No, they are both “useless pieces of crap” if they don’t work for the community. We forgot that the film can influence audiences and make the world a better place.
Davor Bašić Palković