The Divine Order

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DivineOrder_US_poster_1944x2880To the Swiss as late as 1970, the Divine Order meant the total domination of men over women in all matters: family, work, religion, law, even voting. When even Iraq and Afghanistan had women’s sufferage, Switzerland did not.

For director Petra Volpe, the film began as a student thesis, with years of evolution into a screenplay and finally onto the large screen. Set in an unnamed small Swiss village, the story traces the evolution of Nora from an ordinary housewife on the brink of middle age, to the local leader of the women’s sufferage and liberation movements.

The film was a rousing success in tiny Switzerland, grossing $5 million. That would be like a film grossing $200 million in the USA. It’s the Swiss entry for the foreign film Oscar and snagged three awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, including best actress for the lead and best narrative film.

The film wonderfully evokes the period. Sets, costumes and music are meticulously 1971. Even the pacing of the film reflects both the slower pace and angst of the period, versus today’s over-caffenated, superhero bombastic, Internet-paced flicks.

Speaking of the music, the producers did an amazing job of getting rights to some of the most evocative pop anthems of the period. A major studio would have had to fork over large chunks of cash, something not available to the indie producers. We suspect that they went to the music rights owners with a cut of the film and a request to “just watch this”. They got the songs for a song.

Women cheer this flick, and good men find their hearts warmed. It’s a timely antidote to the news from Fox, Weinstein and the White House. Opens October 27 at the Film Forum in NYC.

Phil Neches

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