Order of Myths (USA; 77 min.)
directed by: Margaret Brown
|Bruce says: "THE ORDER OF MYTHS was recommend to
me by fellow Chlotrudis member Rob Jerome, an award-winning photographer
whose specialty is photographing festivals and carnivals around the world.
The dual Mobile, Alabama Mardi Gras celebrations – one black (MAMGA),
one white (MCA) – are among the subjects Rob has captured on film.
Rob observes that 'In Carnivals everywhere ‘community’ is very
important, whether that community is based on neighborhood, ethnicity, race
or sexual orientation. Carnival groups are often based on shared ‘sameness’
and serve to reinforce a sense of belonging to one's specific community
rather than to the larger society as a whole.'
"The subject of THE ORDER OF MYTHS is race. The film examines the racial tensions that exist in Mobile through a unique, celebratory eye. For both black and white communities Carnival is a near-sacred tradition. Both communities select a King and Queen and, not surprisingly, the choice is often based on family history just like royalty in countries Americans love to deride. THE ORDER OF MYTHS focuses on the joys of celebration instead of crusading to uncover negative aspects ranging from petty differences to outright hatred. This focus sets it significantly apart from other sociological documentaries.
"Filmmaker Margaret Brown concentrates on the 2007 Mardi Gras. She gains entries to the parties, the balls, the parades and the businesses that house the tradespeople whose skills are instrumental in making each event dazzling. As an aside Brown also traces the history of the community since 2007 is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slave trade. Coincidentally, Helen Meaher, the queen of the MCA Court, is a direct descendant of the man who owned the last operating slave ship.
"A University of Alabama study reveals that Mardi Gras brings $227 million to the community each year. The festival dates back to 1703, fifteen years before New Orleans became a city. After all these years, 2007 happens to be the first where the white royal couple has attended the MAMGA Ball and the first where the black royal couple attends the MCA Ball. The racial mingling appears awkward and forced as though the filmmaker had forced her will on the community. A new racially integrated group has been formed – so far it has one white member. What appears to be a simple concept for a film is ultimately quite deceiving. THE ORDER OF MYTHS is crammed with fascinating, telling moments. 5 cats"