Review: ‘The Divine Order’ Recalls the Fight for Women’s Sufferage in Switzerland -

Review: ‘The Divine Order’ Recalls the Fight for Women’s Sufferage in Switzerland

Credit: nytimes.com

  • Oct 26 2017 11:25About: 2 months ago
  • 14 views





If it’s startling that the 19th Amendment, which enshrined women’s voting rights across the United States, is less than 100 years old, “The Divine Order” is set in Switzerland, where the equivalent constitutional amendment — establishing the right for women to vote at the federal level — didn’t pass until 1971.

“The Divine Oder” examines that fight for women’s suffrage in a microcosm. Directed by Petra Volpe, the film is set in a conservative Swiss town that has gone largely insulated from the spirit of the swinging ’60s. (To judge from the film’s grayish look, the locality has even escaped the decade’s tie-dyed palette.)

The movie centers on Nora (Marie Leuenberger), who, like most of the town’s women, has been cowed into keeping her opinions to herself. “The more we push, the more the men do what they want,” she tells a pamphleteer encouraging approval of the referendum. Nora’s days consist of caring for her children, indulging her proudly retrograde father-in-law and yearning to take a job that would break the monotony. If Nora’s name weren’t enough of a nod to Ibsen, her husband, Hans (Max Simonischek), addresses her as “my little bird.”

But soon Nora is moved to act. Nora’s rebellious teenage niece (Ella Rumpf) is sent to reform school and then, after she runs away, to prison. Nora reads up on the inequities of Swiss marriage law. A small act of defiance against the town’s leading female anti-suffrage finger-wagger (Therese Affolter) wins her an ally in a feisty widow (Sibylle Brunner), and soon an Italian restaurant owner (Marta Zoffoli) joins them. Their growing movement culminates in a strike that brings the town to a halt.

Taking a middlebrow, mildly rollicking approach to a serious subject, “The Divine Order” doesn’t exactly break new ground. It goes for easy laughs, like a scene in which the women attend a workshop led by a Swedish guru who teaches them a better appreciation of their anatomy. The composer, Annette Focks, supplies an array of insistent Spielbergian music cues, and the film hinges on a pair of big-speech scenes.

Still, “The Divine Order” effectively illustrates how peer pressure can influence the political process. Collective silence, whether it’s from women unwilling to publicly press for their rights or men afraid to voice agreement with their wives for fear of looking weak around co-workers, proves more of an obstacle than any opponent. That message gives Ms. Volpe’s lark a timely edge.










Follow Us on Twitter

1971 Petra Volpe’s film takes middlebrow mildly rollicking approach toward serious subject.

Related stories with Review: ‘The Divine Order’ Recalls the Fight for Women’s Sufferage in Switzerland

Review: In Folsom State Prison, ‘The Work’ Sets You Free -World News
Review: In Folsom State Prison, ‘The Work’ Sets You Free 2 months ago
The film documents four days of punishing group therapy in prison.
Review: In ‘Thank You for Your Service,’ the War at Home -World News
Review: In ‘Thank You for Your Service,’ the War at Home 2 months ago
The film, from the screenwriter of “American Sniper,” is an earnest and powerful drama about Iraq veterans returning to Kansas.
Review: In ‘All I See Is You,’ Sight Is Restored and a Marriage Rocked -World News
Review: In ‘All I See Is You,’ Sight Is Restored and a Marriage Rocked 2 months ago
This psychodrama from Marc Forster stars Blake Lively and Jason Clarke as a seemingly happy married couple.
Is the French city of Perpignan fit for the filming of Game of Thrones? -World News
Is the French city of Perpignan fit for the filming of Game of Thrones? 2 months ago
City chiefs in Perpignan, south west France, are doing everything they can to convince the makers of blockbuster TV series Game of Thrones that it would be a fitting location for the filming of the final season. Are they right?
Review: ‘Mully’ Is a Man Dedicated to Saving Kenya’s Orphans -World News
Review: ‘Mully’ Is a Man Dedicated to Saving Kenya’s Orphans 2 months ago
A documentary looks at Charles Mully, who gave up great wealth to aid the poor and homeless in his country.
Club 57, Late-Night Home of Basquiat and Haring, Gets a Museum-Worthy Revival -World News
Club 57, Late-Night Home of Basquiat and Haring, Gets a Museum-Worthy Revival 2 months ago
The basement club, which for five years served as the louche headquarters for the East Village 1980s art movement, time-travels to the Museum of Modern Art.
Morbidelli:
Morbidelli: "Everything I know, I learned from Valentino" 2 months ago
How Morbidelli can win the Moto2™ crown, and some thoughts ahead of the weekend
The heat is on: Marquez and Dovi discuss the title -World News
The heat is on: Marquez and Dovi discuss the title 2 months ago
Calm, collected, focused – but very much ready for a fight
Cabby crashes into low wall at Bukit Batok HDB block -World News
Cabby crashes into low wall at Bukit Batok HDB block 2 months ago
October 26, 2017 6:59 PMSINGAPORE - A taxi driver accidentally crashed into a low wall at a Housing Board block in Bukit Batok on Wednesday (Oct 25) night.
Assassin's Creed Origins review in progress: making the old feel new again -World News
Assassin's Creed Origins review in progress: making the old feel new again 2 months ago
A year off to rest has done the Assassin's Creed franchise a world of good.
Hong Kong’s Hayley Chan eyes Asian glory after World Cup Series win in Japan -World News
Hong Kong’s Hayley Chan eyes Asian glory after World Cup Series win in Japan 2 months ago
Hayley Chan went into last week’s World Cup Series opener in Gamagori, Japan unsure if she could compete because of a hip injury. She ended up winning the event by upsetting the local favourite in the women’s RS:X class and boosting her confid
Fallen fire heroes honoured in Hong Kong’s first remembrance ceremony -World News
Fallen fire heroes honoured in Hong Kong’s first remembrance ceremony 2 months ago
Hong Kong’s fire services authority on Thursday held its first remembrance ceremony in 149 years to honour the bravery and sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the line of duty. Since records began in the 1950s, more than 30 fire services and