Sunday April 22nd 2:25 PM
Director: Petra Volpe
Cast: Marie Leuenberger, Maximilian Simonischek, Rachel Braunschweig
Runtime: 96 min
Language: Swiss and German with English subtitles
San Diego International Film Festival: Best Global Cinema; Tribeca Film Festival: Audience Award, Best Actress, Nora Ephron Prize: Screenplay; Swiss Film Prize: Best Actress, Supporting Actress, Screenplay. Four other wins, 10 nominations.
“Petra Volpe’s direction is crisp, her screenplay is smart and well-paced, and the acting is superb, particularly Sibylle Brunner, as the elder stateswoman of the village.” – Paul Weissman, Film-Forward
Two years ago, director Sarah Gavron gave us Suffragette, the story of women in Edwardian London fighting for the right to vote. The Divine Order tells a similar tale, but it’s set in Switzerland, 1971, not 1912. Men landed on the moon – several times – before they let women vote in Swiss elections.
The title of Petra Biondina Volpe’s movie refers to the argument that the Supreme Being never intended women to vote. But for Nora (Marie Leuenberger), things come to a head when her husband won’t let her get a job outside the home. She falls in with two fellow feminists – an Italian/Swiss divorcée who suggests a “women’s strike,” and an older woman who lost her livelihood because of outdated property laws.
Together, they set up an information night for local ladies in their rural town, and attend a protest in Zurich, followed by an educational talk about “yoni power.” Nora realizes she doesn’t just want to vote; she wants an orgasm!
They face opposition from a little old lady who runs the local “anti-politicization of women” league, and wouldn’t have anything to do if she weren’t helping keep women in their place.
Overall, The Divine Order exudes an easygoing, lighthearted style, making it a lovely diversion, and a reminder of how recent some changes to women’s rights have been.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia became the last country to allow women to vote, although Vatican City remains a male-only conclave when it comes to voting for the Pope, since only cardinals can vote, and only men can be cardinals. Divine Order indeed.