The Order of Myths (2008)

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Critic Consensus: More than a documentary about the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the south, Order of Myths encompasses the eccentric characters of Mobile and the still-lingering racial tensions that surround them.

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The first Mardi Gras in America was celebrated in Mobile, Alabama in 1703. In 2007, it is still racially segregated. 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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Critic Reviews for The Order of Myths

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (11)

A well-constructed documentary about a surprising remnant of segregation in the new South, The Order of Myths gracefully explores Mobile's Mardi Gras celebrations and profiles the young people playing at royalty at these ceremonies' hearts.

Nov 7, 2008

Entertaining and provocative.

Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: B+
AV Club
Top Critic

An invaluable portrait of us-and-them America, a smart, generous, poignant, quietly disturbing movie about secrecy and hospitality.

Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

On both sides of the Mobile Mardi Gras divide, people seem to be edging toward a desire for reconciliation, but there remain significant differences about what that might entail.

Jul 25, 2008

Wise and soberly affecting documentary about the separate but unequal Mardi Gras festivities that take place each year in Mobile, Ala.

Jul 25, 2008 | Rating: 4/5

To say each group takes this tradition seriously can in no way convey the absolute nuttiness and frenzy that filmmaker Margaret Brown has captured.

Jul 23, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Order of Myths

A nice complementary film to Prom Night in Mississippi. Proof about segregation still forming a major part of the landscape in the southern U.S. The director should be credited with showing restraint on the preaching and just allowing the persons and actions flow.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"The Order of Myths" is a documentary focusing on the 2007 Mardi Gras celebrations in Mobile, Alabama which date back further than those in New Orleans. For each Mardi Gras, there is a white king and queen and a black king and queen, each with their accompanying courts.(The white monarchs are drawn from the wealthiest and oldest families of the city and this also doubles as a coming out into society. For example, an ancestor of the white queen's owned the last ship that brought slaves into Mobile.) Even the mystic societies that hold parades in the days leading up to Mardi Gras are almost entirely segregated.(The members of these societies wear masks and I could not help but wonder if there was any historical connection to the Ku Klux Klan. Especially considering that Mobile had a lynching as recent as 1981...) Since tradition and history are the apparent reasons for the continuing segregation, then most of these events could easily be written off as a particularly southern phenomenon. In general, the documentary does not probe very deep beneath the surface and does not have anything terribly profound to say concerning race relations.[/font] [font=Century Gothic]But there are signs of hope which include the election of the first black mayor in the city's history. One member of the white court is much more liberal and open to new ideas than others of her ilk. But come on, guys. This was 2007. What is taking so long? [/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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