The first Mardi Gras in America was celebrated in Mobile, Alabama in 1703. In 2007, it is still racially segregated. Filmmaker Margaret Brown (Be Here to Love Me: A Film about Townes Van Zandt), herself a daughter of Mobile, escorts us into the parallel hearts of the city’s two carnivals. With unprecedented access, she traces the exotic world of secret mystic societies and centuries-old traditions and pageantry; diamond-encrusted crowns, voluminous, hand-sewn gowns, surreal masks and enormous paper mache floats. Against this opulent backdrop, she uncovers a tangled web of historical violence and power dynamics, elusive forces that keep this hallowed tradition organized along enduring color lines.
Such a well-done film! It is no surprise that it is the gutsiness of the young black king and queen who reach out successfully... there was such a sincere belief that it was the right thing to do and a genuine delight that they were received graciously - wonderful. It will always be the young, the sons and the daughters who change the way a community can 'see' each other.