The Divine Order (M)
Rating: 4 / 5
To a Swiss village in 1971, The Divine Order is one where men rule the world for the supposed benefit of all, without women having any political power. Men bring home the bacon while women cook, clean, and care for children and elderly parents. They also have no political voice as they are denied the vote.
The catalyst for the action of the film is a devoted wife and mother Nora (Marie Leuenberger), who adores her husband and family, but would really love to take a part-time job for which she is eminently suited.
But in the laws of the time, she needs her husband’s permission and husband Hans (Max Simonischek) refuses to countenance such a shocking move by his wife.
Frustration boils over in Nora, and she joins the women’s suffrage movement, and finds herself leading it in her village, with support from a feisty elderly widow Vroni (Sibylle Brunner) and a free-spirited Italian immigrant Graziella (Marta Zoffoli) who has arrived to take over a pizzeria.
The pizzeria becomes the headquarters for the suffrage movement and, while Nora suffers much antipathy from the community, the movement gradually attracts support from other village women.
Hans suffers humiliation at work for his lack of control over his wife’s activities, and demands she stop immediately. But gentle Nora is empowered by the support of other women, and they lead a walkout on their families, camping in the pizzeria, and leaving the men folk to cope as best they can.
Eventually, Nora’s campaign is successful, and Swiss women gain the suffrage that Australian women enjoyed by the early 20th century, nearly a hundred years before Switzerland.