Nuevo Orden

Michel Franco, Mexico, 2020

It starts out with the kind of wedding reception you’d like to be invited to. In a modern city house of some rich people, with terraces and gazebos, caterers circulating with canapes, and everyone dancing in their best frock.

But there’s social turmoil in the background. The tap runs with green water, a guest is pelted with green paint, a loyal former employee asks for money for his wife’s operation and doesn’t get what he needs…and then the party is ended violently as the ‘have not’ rebels wreak their revenge on the ‘haves’.

After which, it all gets unrelentingly bleak. I don’t know if the film was no so clear, or if it was just me who lost track of who was doing what for who and why. Turns out it’s not an anticapitalist revolution but a military coup. Cue lots of inhuman brutality – torture, rape, public hangings…

So it wasn’t the funnest film to watch in our pandemic situation. On my way home, my mind infused with this terrifying society, other people seemed threatening, the streets a menace. This was not helped by hurrying home before curfew, and the buses not running because of some rioting in town (a rapper’s been jailed for his anti-monarchist lyrics). I do live in comfortable peacetime Western Europe, right?! I guess it was a good reminder of how much worse things could be.

I’m not sure it was a good film, though. The director is emerging globally as Mexican cinema’s finest, which is exciting (think Iñarritu and Cuarón)! I wanna see his other stuff! This was well-made, but it was all frantic action, with not much character development nor subtext. But then maybe I missed too much in only understanding 30% or so of the dialogue!

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