German, English, Italian, Swiss German w/ English subtitles
Principal Cast: Marie Leuenberger, Maximilian Simonischek, Rachel Braunschweig
Switzerland, 1971: Nora is a young housewife and mother who lives with her husband and their two sons in a peaceful little village. Here, in the Swiss countryside, little or nothing is felt of the huge social upheavals that the movement of May 1968 has caused. Nora’s life, too, has been unaffected; she is a retiring, quiet person, well liked by everyone – until she begins to campaign publicly and pugnaciously for women’s right to vote, an issue that will be put before the male voters on February 7th, 1971.
The long-fought battle for women’s suffrage in America ended in 1920, but it wasn’t until 1971 that Switzerland granted its female population the right to vote. “The Divine Order” revisits this fight for equality through the fictional lens of a housewife in one of the country’s remote villages, where her mounting desire for autonomy and actualization is opposed by backward-thinking cretins of both genders. Petra Volpe’s cine-history lesson remains a mainstream crowd-pleaser adept at inspiring and amusing in equal measure.
No prior knowledge of Switzerland’s political evolution is necessary, and thanks to its director’s sturdy guidance and Leuenberger’s fine lead performance as Nora, whose resolve is colored by doubt and trepidation, the film never feels stilted or preachy; rather, it radiates an infectious admiration for the courage shown by its heroines in the face of immense obstacles.