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The Order of Myths

13 customer reviews

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(Jan 13, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

The first Mardi Gras in America was celebrated in Mobile, Alabama in 1703. In 2007, it is still racially segregated. Filmmaker Margaret Brown (Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt), 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.
Special Features:
- Audio Commentary by Director Margaret Brown and Cinematographer Michael Simmonds
- Deleted Scenes
- Footage from the film s Mobile, Alabama Premiere
- Theatrical Trailer
- English 5.1 Soundtrack
- Scene Selections

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by director Margaret Brown and cinematographer Michael Simmonds
  • Footage from the film’s Mobile, Alabama premiere
  • Deleted scenes

Product Details

  • Actors: n, a
  • Directors: Margaret Brown
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker Video / Cinema Guild
  • DVD Release Date: January 13, 2009
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001J2XRLW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,140 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Order of Myths" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Edwin B. Arnaudin on January 7, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Mobile, Ala. is home to the nation's oldest Mardi Gras festival. During the two weeks of pageants and parades, the locals abide by a tradition of racially segregated celebrations, simultaneously exposing behavior that is both taboo and honored.

Director Margaret Brown's expert use of irony and social commentary in "The Order of Myths" is as captivating as the elaborate and pricey galas of the 2007 occurrence. The uncomfortably real moments are most evident through a running theme of whites making reference to future hopes for equality, then handing off a discarded piece of china to a black server working an all-white event. The tension peaks when members of the black Mardi Gras queen's family comment that their ancestors were brought to Mobile on the slave ship Clotilda by ancestors of the white queen's family. The just-so manner in which the black family references its past is consistent throughout the film, keeping tensions to a minimum but acknowledging them nonetheless.

The sense of ambivalence is also prevalent on the white side. Comments are made concerning hopes for integrated celebrations, but the same people later express a desire for maintaining the rich traditions that are enjoyed by each group. Folks acknowledge the touchiness of the situation and how the Mobile celebrations are different by exhibiting such throwback values, but few are in a hurry to make a change.

An additional layer of intrigue is found in the film's first interviewee, a friendly-looking and eerily familiar older Southern gentleman. His second appearance identified him as Dwain Luce and it clicked for me that he was featured in Ken Burns' "The War.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tomazulob on January 15, 2009
Format: DVD
This little film by Margaret Brown can easily be overlooked--but it shouldn't. This could also be easily categorized as a film about tolerated racism--but it is so much more. Anybody not from the US who does not understand why the racism is so strong in this country needs to see this film for a sliver of the history that shows the roots of it. For those who think racism is a permanent part of the fabric of this country, they need to see this to show that there is hope that this is changing. For those who want change now, this is not the film for you, as the greatest strength of this film is the display of generations of change that are and have taken place.

Brown has taken the oldest tradition of Mardi Gras in the country (no, not New Orleans, but Mobile--another statement made in this movie) and, according to the extra section of the DVD, inadvertently used it to show the history of the Mardi Gras, the history of race relations in the city, and, from a microcosmic point of view, the emotions of the participants (past and present) of the two simultaneous groups who celebrate this event. A King and Queen of Mardi Gras are selected from each racial community (Caucasian and African-American) with a following of these four people around. What I found particularly interesting about these four people was the preconceived notions I had as a former resident of the South and how 3 of the 4 evolved in front of the camera. Felix was basically exactly as I suspected, but he still evolved as well. The last 20 minutes of the film were especially encouraging and heart-warming.

I can not recommend this film highly enough. While it starts a bit slowly, it is well worth the wait. The interview of some of the participants along with Ms.
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Format: DVD
Documentarian Margaret Brown turns the camera on the ritual celebration of Mardi Gras in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama in "The Order of Myths", which takes its name from the oldest mystic (masked) society to march in the Tuesday parade. Mobile has the oldest and one of the grandest Mardi Gras traditions in the United States, having celebrated its first Carnival in 1703. Actually, Mobile has two Mardi Gras traditions: that of the Mobile Carnival Association (MCA), now in its 103rd year, and that of the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association (MAMGA), and all-black organization founded in 1939 as an alternative to the all-WASP MCA. Their traditions are strikingly similar but separate, and, combined, the festivities impact Mobile's economy to the tune of $200 million per year. "The Order of Myths" follows the preparations by both organizations for the big event with an eye to what the largely segregated celebration may -or may not- say about race relations in Mobile.

For viewers who are not Southerners, this is a look at another culture. As a Northerner, I recognize the WASP country clubs and debutantes' balls, but the South has its own, perhaps more theatrical, brand of class and cultural boundaries. "The Order of Myths" offers some sense of how Mobile's past is reflected in its vaunted Mardi Gras traditions and what people may think about it. They don't all think the same thing. MCA's 2007 King and Queen, Max Bruckman and Helen Meaher, and MAMGA's King and Queen, Joseph Roberson and Stefannie Lucas, share their experiences and perspectives. And all seem equally moved by the honor bestowed upon them. The coverage of the technical aspects of the celebrations is sparse, but we see a bit of the wardrobe design for the royal courts.
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