The Gay Pride Parade is one of the best parties of the year — so much so that it’s easy to forget that, not so long ago, it was risky to participate, or that in some cities today, a token gesture of pride can get you imprisoned or killed. Ken Coolen, director of the Vancouver Pride Parade, recognized that the celebration was overshadowing the activism at his event, and he decided to travel to less tolerant places to see how the movement was faring.
He finds the situation a lot different in Sri Lanka, where just flying the rainbow flag can get you 10 years in jail, and Warsaw, where the Catholic, nationalist, and skinhead haters vastly outnumber the handful of courageous marchers. Then things get really exciting in Moscow, where Russian activists must resort to skullduggery to pull off a 10-minute demonstration.
It’s sometimes grim but mostly jubilant, thanks in part to director Bob Christie’s multi-screen montages and brisk editing.