A tale of two comedies in Berlin

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A tale of two comedies in Berlin

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Spanish filmmaker Alex de la Iglesia’s “The Spark of Life” is a Salma Hayek-starring satire about an unemployed man who has an accident and then tries to cash in on the media interest.

“Well, it’s a strange movie, you know, it’s a weird movie, because it’s a comedy, at the same time it’s a drama, like life, you know, my life is like that,” says the director.

The film’s Spanish title is actually a Coca-Cola catchprase invented by unemployed advertiser
Roberto. When he phones his office his now-successful former colleagues feign absence. Nobody it seems has any time for him.

Desperate, Roberto decides to pay a visit to the hotel where he once spent his honeymoon. But this is now a hole in the ground.

In its place excavations have unearthed a massive amphitheatre. Roberto decides to take a closer look, takes a fall and gets struck. All of a sudden, it is a matter of life and death and everybody takes an interest in him. Even Roberto is seduced into bargaining over the value of his life as a sensational event.

The film is showing outside of the main competition at the festival.

Any gay rom-com is a pretty rare beast, but from Serbia? And about a former Serb war hero recruiting former Croat, Bosnian and Kosovan Albanian enemies to provide security for a Gay Pride march?

Well, that is just what Srdan Dragojevic’s “Parada” tackles. It is a comedy that offers a pertinent
snapshot of an aspect of the post-war healing that has taken place in the ex-Yugoslav republics.

“My film is dealing with a really tough issue, it’s human rights, it’s LGBT rights in the most homophobic area of the world. And I am so proud that I came here because I think Berlin is the perfect festival for my film because it deals with a lot of political issues, with a lot of important stuff and the ‘Parade’ is definitely one of these films ,” says Dragojevic.

Old school machismo meets gay obsession for interior design, homophobia meets overblown gender display as the former foes find themselves obliged to bond with a bunch of gay activists.

The film uses footage from the 2010 Belgrade Gay Pride parade which was attacked by extremists. 100 police were injured, and the 2011 event was banned.

The motley crew is sent on an impossible and probably suicidal mission to protect a fresh attempt to hold the parade from renewed and certain onslaught from nationalists and neo-Nazi organisations.

The film, also not in competition in Berlin, was top of Serbia’s cinema charts in 2011, and has been a hit around the Balkans.

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