The Order of Myths
Filmfest 2008

As winter turns to spring, Mobile, Alabama, buzzes and flutters with the floats, parades, masquerade balls, and secret mystic societies of Mardi Gras. The oldest Mardi Gras celebration in America, this time-honored ritual has always been racially segregated. Filmmaker Margaret Brown, 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 color lines... Brown unveils the vibrant pageantry under way. The king and queen of each royal court are trotted out at public appearances, parties, and coronations - within their distinct black and white realms, that is. Playfulness, reverence, and camaraderie suffuse the spectacles, generating genuine mirth and dignity in each community. Yet stories of the white Mardi Gras queen's slave-trading ancestors, as well as subtle interracial social codes, cast a shadow on the proud Mobile heritage the white residents invoke.

With: Helen Meaher, Brittain Youngblood

tags: Documentary


Director: Margaret Brown