Mobile’s Mardi Gras celebrations are becoming less black and white.
THE ORDER OF MYTHS (Margaret Brown). 84 minutes. Screens Wednesday (November 19) at the Bloor Cinema as part of Doc Soup. See Indie & Rep Film. Rating: NNNN
Given the political sea change happening south of the 49th, it seems the perfect time for Doc Soup to screen Margaret Brown's study of eroding racial tensions in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama, where black and white residents have welcomed Mardi Gras with separate-but-equal celebrations for as long as anyone can remember.
Brown follows both 2007 festivals, interviewing people on both sides of the colour line - and some caught between it - to patiently assemble an oral history of a cultural schism that began as a response to blatant Klan persecution and has somehow evolved into an accepted, even nostalgic, tradition. That this tradition still involves white folks dressing up in hoods and shouting at each other doesn't seem to bother anyone, which is kind of weird.
The old Mobile is still there, in any number of ways, but Brown finds reasons to be hopeful for the future. It seems the new generation of debutantes and swains is more than willing to bridge the racial gap, and The Order Of Myths gets considerable suspense out of an invitation to the king and queen of the white cotillion to drop in on the black party. The only way to jettison the ghosts of the past is to come together and bury them, once and for all.