"THE DIVINE ORDER" by Petra Volpe

Divine Order.png

THE DIVINE ORDER is Switzeland's official entry to Oscars 2018. It is winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film at the Tribeca Film Festival 2017. The film is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote. When unassuming and dutiful housewife Nora is forbidden by her husband to take a part-time job, her frustration leads to her becoming the poster child of her town’s suffragette movement. Her newfound celebrity brings humiliation, threats, and the potential end to her marriage, but, refusing to back down, she convinces the women in her village to go on strike...and makes a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Uplifting and crowd-pleasing, this charming, captivating film is a time-capsule that could not be more timely.

In a time where women rights have become a point of discussion again in USA and worldwide, this film gives a peek into a time and place where such conversations have already taken place. The film tackles an important subject like this with a lot of humor and comedy. Despite being very emotional and dramatic, the film is also very funny. The director Petra stated that it was important for her to be able to tell this story without being overly dramatic, so the audience can much more easily absorb the message. And that really works for the film.

The film is also wonderfully cast. The lead actress Marie Leuenberger, playing Nora, won Best Actress award at Tribeca. She brings such humanity to her character, who is vulnerable but strong, funny but sexy, motherly and a leader. Rest of the cast is also wonderful. Petra shared that casting was not easy. But after long search and almost seeing all Swiss actress, she was lucky to find Marie, who made the perfect Nora.

The film is also beautifully shot. The small town covered with snow, gives a beautiful calm setup to an explosive story. The social messaging is string and relevant. This poignant film is a must watch and definite award worth film.

Political and religious leaders in Switzerland cited the Divine Order as the reason why women still did not have to right to vote as late as 1970. Director Petra Volpe explores this surprising history through the story of Nora (Marie Leuenberger, winner Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film at Tribeca) a seemingly unremarkable housewife from a quaint village who must learn to become an unflinching suffragette leader. After organizing the village’s first meeting to support women getting the right to vote, her family is mocked, bullied, and shunned. Despite the obstacles and backlash, Nora perseveres and convinces the village women to go on strike, abandoning their homes and families. A strong ensemble cast brings the story to its inspirational conclusion when Swiss women finally secure the right to vote in 1971. The Divine Order is a heartfelt and captivating film about regular people demanding their right to an equal voice. —Dan Hunt, Tribeca Film Festival