The Order of Myths (image 1)

Vibrant and revealing look at the traditions of Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama.

James Greenberg, Hollywood Reporter

Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

The Order of Myths 2008

Directed by Margaret Brown

Filmmaker Margaret Brown find the segregated South alive and well in America's oldest Mardi Gras, in Mobile Alabama. "Vibrant and revealing." — Hollywood Reporter

USA In English
77 minutes DigiBeta

Director

Photography

Michael Simmonds
,
Lee Daniel

Editors

Michael Taylor
,
Geoffrey Richman
,
Margaret Brown

With

Max Bruckmann
,
Helen Meaher
,
Stefannie Lucas
,
Joseph Roberson
,
Brittain Youngblood

Festivals

Sundance, SXSW, Edinburgh 2008

Elsewhere

Mobile, Alabama is home to America's oldest Mardi Gras. For two weeks before Lent each year the Southern city indulges in all the revelry, vibrant pageantry and mystical weirdness of its better-known New Orleans counterpart. Chronicling the lead-up to the 2007 celebrations, filmmaker Margaret Brown (Be Here to Love Me) uses the event as a prism to view present-day race relations in her own hometown. To outsiders, the most striking aspect of Mobile's Mardi Gras has to be the distinct segregation of the black and white celebrations, each with its own King and Queen, parties and parades. Brown's film, however, is anything but black and white; the Mobile she reveals is a deep-rooted community in thrall to age-old traditions and privileged social orders. — MM

"Handsomely shot and intelligently edited... the film explores the secret societies, the fancy-dress balls and the celebratory parades for a story that is at once very site-specific and seemingly simple and as big and richly complex as the United States itself." — Manohla Dargis, NY Times

"Playfulness, reverence, and camaraderie suffuse the spectacles, generating genuine mirth and dignity in each community. Yet stories of a lynching as recent as 1981, and of the white Mardi Gras queen's slave-trading ancestors, as well as subtle interracial social codes, cast a shadow on the proud Mobile heritage the white residents invoke. Do the recent formation of a racially integrated secret society and the attendance by this past year's black Mardi Gras monarchs at the white folks' ball augur cracks in a mysteriously enduring social order?" — Caroline Libresco, Sundance Film Festival