Price: $195.00

    Code: 2306

    Directed by Margaret Brown
    2008, 80 Minutes
    Purchase: $195 Classroom Rental: $125

    2010 Peabody Award recipient
    A 2009 "Notable Video for Adults" as selected by the American Library Association
    Named one of the ten best DVDs of 2009 by Library Journal

    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 to explore the complex contours of this hallowed tradition and the elusive forces that keep it organized along enduring color lines.

    With unprecedented access, Brown traces the exotic world of secret mystic societies and centuries-old traditions and pageantry; diamond-encrusted crowns, voluminous, hand-sewn gowns and trains, surreal masks and enormous paper mache floats. Against this opulent backdrop, she uncovers a tangled web of historical violence, power dynamics and intertwined and interdependent race relations.

    It is the central coronations of the Mobile Carnival Association (MCA), an all-white organization, and the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association (MAMGA), an all-black organization, which provides the central narrative through which we view the festivities. Each organization has its own separate parades, balls, and royal court, complete with King, Queen, Knights and Ladies. Like foreign dignitaries who will soon return to their own separate worlds, the MCA and MAMGA Kings and Queens cross the color divide only briefly to visit each other's event.

    The title The Order of Myths comes from the name of the oldest mystic society in Mobile. The chief symbol of The Order of Myths is a jester named Folly chasing the skeletal figure of Death around the broken column of the South. Using this symbol as a central metaphor, this remarkably assured documentary illuminates the complexity of race relations in the 21st century.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Nominee, Best Documentary, Independent Spirit Awards, 2009
    * Nominee, Truer Than Fiction Award, Independent Spirit Awards, 2009
    * Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival, 2008
    * Official Selection, SXSW Film Festival, 2008
    * Official Screening, Organization of American Historians Annual Conference, 2009
    * Winner, Cinematic Vision Award, Silverdocs Film Festival, 2008
    * Winner, Youth Jury Award, Sheffield Doc/Fest, 2008
    * Official Selection, Full Frame Film Festival, 2008
    * Official Selection, True/False Film Festival, 2008
    * Official Selection, Edinburgh Film Festival, 2008


    “As big and richly complex as the United States itself... A wise and soberly affecting documentary... More than most, Ms. Brown knows that there’s nothing black and white about race in America, and nothing specifically Southern about its calamities. Or maybe she’s just more honest. The extent of her sincerity doesn’t become apparent until late in the proceedings, when she reveals a personal connection to Mobile that gives this very fine movie a bracing emotional kicker. In contrast to the cloistered, all-white Mardi Gras membership group that gives the movie its poetic and freighted title, Ms. Brown has a beautiful grasp of gray.” Critic’s Pick
    – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

    “Brilliantly captivating. An invaluable portrait of us-and-them America, a smart, generous, poignant, quietly disturbing movie.”
    – Robert Abele, LA Times

    “An intimate excavation of the history of American racism.”
    – Logan Hill, New York Magazine

    “Brilliant. Heartbreaking. A winner!”
    – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

    “A haunting and important documentary about modern-day American segregation. It is the kind of illuminating work that sends audiences stumbling home in a wide-eyed state of astonishment.”
    – S. James Snyder, The New York Sun

    The Order of Myths is the best documentary in ages, and one of the best films of the year.”
    – Jeff Reichert, Reverse Shot

    “Engrossing. This deftly made portrait is provocative, but not vitriolic. As Sen. Barack Obama makes history… it’s unsettling to realize racism’s ugly shadow continues to loom large.”
    – Claudia Puig, USA Today

    “Fascinating. A beautifully restrained, intelligent documentary about how complicated race relations can be in the modern South.”
    – Stan Hall, Portland Oregonian

    “Quietly shocking, The Order of Myths is a deft, engrossing cross-section of Mobile life, heavy on local color and insight.”
    – Vadim Rizov, The Village Voice

    “Extraordinary. It may be one of the best films ever made about the paradoxes and complexities of the postwar South. Hugely entertaining.”
    – Jim Ridley, Nashville Scene

    “Highly sophisticated nonfiction filmmaking…. Brown has managed, in a fleet 80 minutes, to uncover quite a lot about (obviously) America’s entrenched racism and (perhaps not so obviously) why our presumably modern sensibilities allow for its continuity.”
    – Michael Koresky, Indiewire

    "One of the Ten Best Films of the Year"
    - Boston Globe,, Jonathan Rosenbaum

    "Three and a half stars. Highly recommended."
    - Video Librarian

    " A smart and important film [...]. It does not shy away from the complexity, indeed the ambiguity, of race relations in the contemporary South".
    - Anthropology Review Database