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Review: The Order of Myths

Review: The Order of Myths - America’s still segregated south

Scoop Review: Auckland International Film Festival

By Natasha Burling

Tradition is a funny thing. Along with a sense of identity, it can imbue a sense of shame. It has the power to give privilege or deny it, to include or exclude.

The Order of Myths is a revealing look at the long-held traditions surrounding the Mardi Gras in the southern United States town of Mobile.

Although blatantly obvious to the outsider, many residents seem oblivious to the racial segregation of these carnivals.

Mobile has the shameful reputation of bringing the last slaveship in to the USA.

The remnants of prejudices of that time are reflected in the separate Mardi Gras celebrations of the white and African-American populations of the town.

There is some hope however, when the kings and queens of each Mardi Gras visit their counterparts’ festivities.

The pomp and ceremony of these over a hundred year old traditions is portrayed sumptuously; exquisite ballgowns with intricately detailed trains are examples of the lengths this town goes to.

Participants of the Mardi Gras give their views frankly, apparently forgetting about the camera and crew. The director was obviously skilled in coaxing out their true feelings.. to a point.

One old man’s request that the camera be shut off when he says something intimates what is concealed behind assertions that white and black people “get along fine”.

The Order of Myths is insightful, thought-provoking and rather shocking but before we judge the town of Mobile we have to ask ourselves: To what extent is our own society still segregated to some degree?

USA 2008
Genre: Documentary
Director: Margaret Brown
Photography: Michael Simmonds, Lee Daniel
Editors: Michael Taylor, Geoffrey Richman, Margaret Brown With: Max Bruckman, Helen Meaher, Stefannie Lucas, Joseph Roberson, Brittain Youngblood
Festivals: Sundance, SXSW, Edinburgh 2008
77 minutes/ Digibeta
www.theorderofmyths.com
Screenings: Sunday 27th July, 4.30pm at Sky City Cinemas Queen St.
See www.nzff.co.nz for countrywide screenings.

*************

Natasha Burling is an AUT journalism student doing the Graduate Diploma in Journalism. She has lived in Colombia, France and Scotland.

ENDS

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