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The Order of Myths2008

  • 4.1
The first Mardi Gras in America was celebrated in Mobile, Alabama, in 1703. In 2007, it is still racially segregated. Filmmaker Margaret Brown, herself a daughter of Mobile, escorts us into the parallel hearts of the city's two carnivals. With unprecedented access, she traces the exotic world of secret mystic societies and centuries-old traditions and pageantry; diamond-encrusted crowns, voluminous, hand-sewn gowns, surreal masks and enormous paper mache floats. Against this opulent backdrop, she uncovers a tangled web of historical violence and power dynamics, elusive forces that keep this hallowed tradition organized along enduring color lines.

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2 members like this review

An exceptionally fine film, offering everything one could want in a documentary on a controversial subject: the exoticism of the deep South and the non-New-Orleans Mardi Gras; the drama of the brave young innocents trying to reach across the color barrier; an astonishing array of interview subjects from every rung on the social ladder, every one seemingly completely open to the interviewer and yet revealing even more in tone and expression than they do with their words; and even a satisfyingly happy ending. I can't recommend it more strongly.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (7)

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top reviewer

An exceptionally fine film, offering everything one could want in a documentary on a controversial subject: the exoticism of the deep South and the non-New-Orleans Mardi Gras; the drama of the brave young innocents trying to reach across the color barrier; an astonishing array of interview subjects from every rung on the social ladder, every one seemingly completely open to the interviewer and yet revealing even more in tone and expression than they do with their words; and even a satisfyingly happy ending. I can't recommend it more strongly.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

the wine tasting scene was great.

and Moon Pie! woah.

very enlightening. by the end, some parts are slightly warming in a cringey way.

I love it.

brilliant slice of a much unknown slice of pure unadulterated southern tradition !

This is the best documentary I have ever seen.

powerful, authentic documentary.

As a member of the East Coast leftist intelligentsia, I'm not sure whether I'm more mystified by the racial politics or the very fact of the Mardi Gras cult, which certainly seems to drive a great deal of civil society down there. Fascinating in more ways than I think even the director herself realized.