• Golden Globe Awards

New Order (Mexico, France)

New Order, by talented Mexican director Michel Franco, begins with protesters smeared in green paint storming into a lavish society wedding involving Mexico’s richest members of the upper class: the mob robs the guests of all they have on them, before shooting them in cold blood. Shocking images burn on our eyeballs as we watch a portrait of human suffering and callousness. Marianne, the bride to be, has left the wedding to accompany the wife of a former employee to a clinic to pay for urgently-needed surgery: instead, she ends up incarcerated in a secret military prison where she suffers horrific sexual abuse and bullying.
The violence to which we witness Marianne be subjected is a painful portrait of the human cruelty that can arise from social injustice, not only in Mexico but worldwide: these problems that we witness on the big screen are present in today’s real world. Immigration issues and xenophobia have become a global concern.
Director Franco, whose reputation for making intimate, intense movies has been implemented by his use of fixed camera sequence shots, opted in New Order to let the camera follow the action, giving his DOP free rein with a handheld camera. He classifies his latest film as a Mexican disaster movie. “Mexico’s upper class are asking for trouble: the social disparity is building up to a situation that one day will finally explode, where everything will break down, not only in Mexico but around the world.
“My biggest challenge was with the screenplay,” the director continues. “I had constantly to make writing decisions, figuring out how to shoot this movie without a Hollywood budget. I didn’t want the film’s message to be diluted, and I knew that if it became a big production, I risked losing my creative vision – my ability to have the final say, so to speak. Everything was carefully planned to serve the script. Even though, I admit, it was quite hard, I felt it was time to tackle this story. Originally, I had a longer script, but I decided to trust the audience!  New Order relates to a worldwide feeling of how wrongly we are living. How wealth is held by a small percentage and how inequalities are everywhere, not only in Latin America.  This movie was a gamble for me because in my prior films, I spent tons of time with each character, with scenes lasting well over four minutes with just a single camera angle in order to let an audience breathe, to let them live with these characters. In New Order, I skip from one character to the next, switching between different topics, showing as many aspects as possible of different social strata and political points of view.”
The polarized extremes of violence and horror portrayed in New Order will shake its audience to the core. There is no doubt that its storyline is relevant to the world we live in today, where the dangers of giving full control to the military, and of handing power to politicians, could prove disastrous.
New Order won the Silver Lion at this year’s Venice film festival and is director Michel Franco’s first direct social comment on his homeland. Franco gained notice in 2012 when he won the biggest prize at Cannes for After LucíaChronic in 2015.