Mexico City is in the throes of revolt. Hospitals are overrun and streets are unsafe. But for one wealthy family, their only concern is that the wedding of their daughter must go ahead. And so the festivities continue — at least until the resistance arrives at their doorstep...
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
That’s merely the opening salvo of the profoundly uncomfortable New Order, 2020’s Grand Jury Prize winner at the Venice Film Festival. Director Michel Franco has earned a reputation as a provocateur in the style of Lars von Trier or Michael Haneke, but his scathing political critique also harkens back to earlier agitators like Costa-Gavras and Pier Paolo Pasolini. New Order is wilfully confrontational, often wildly unpleasant, and not for the meek.
But while New Order’s unsentimental portrait of uprising may chafe, much of its most charged imagery undeniably echoes modern life: detention centres like Guantanamo Bay, 2019’s Paris riots, checkpoints in Palestine. With bold colour design referencing the Mexican flag, Franco’s dystopia may be grounded in the specifics of his home country, but feels uncomfortably close to unfolding tomorrow, almost anywhere. — Doug Dillaman
“Mexican writer-director Michel Franco wields the story like a scalpel in New Order, his diabolically imaginative dystopian fever dream of modern-day inequality and corruption... With elegant camera movements and sharp, emphatic editing, Franco constructs a world... a nanosecond removed from the chaos and moral decay that ensues...” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post