Examining the unexpected repercussions of the first gay pride march in Riga, Latvia, “Homo@lv” offers the daunting spectacle of bigotry in action and a detailed lesson in realpolitik. The celebratory 2005 parade triggered a huge, unforeseen backlash at the grassroots level, and helmer Kaspars Goba captures skinheads and ordinary citizens alike hurling hate-fueled epithets, excrement and holy water at the rainbow-clad marchers. The antigay groundswell quickly gained momentum, adopting the name “No Pride,” thus granting its members a negatively defined sense of purpose soon exploited by right-wing politicos. Pic reps a strong entry for gay fests and docu-friendly cable.The escalating homophobic counterdemonstrations cause a split in the beleaguered gay movement: The original planners of the parade explain the need to pull back (many interviewed gay Latvians preferring quiet anonymity to confrontational politics) while a new “Mozaiks” coalition, carrying on the struggle, allies itself with LGBT groups from all over Europe. But this visible international support incites provincial paranoia and church-fueled fears of a takeover by the decadent West, a terror best pictorialized by a shot of cross-clutching woman lying down in the road to block the “infidels.”
An Elm Media production. (International sales: Elm Media, Riga, Latvia.) Produced by Ieva Ubele. Directed, writted by Kaspars Goba.
Camera (color, HD), Goba, Margeris Eglitis, Inese Apse, Elga Dudareva, Lelde Goba; editors, Gatis Belogrudovs, Visvaldis Zarakovskis. Reviewed at NewFest, New York, July 23, 2011. (Also in Berlin Film Festival -- Panorama Dokumente.) Running time: 70 MIN.
Maris Sants, Linda Freimane, Peter Tatchell, Scot Lively, Ken Hutchinson, Gabriel Strautins, Liga Dimitere. (Latvian, English dialogue)