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December 1, 2017

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i m i B The story of Swiss women's struggle for the right to vote AT THE MOVIES WITH ... LADY BEVERLY COHN It may come as quite a surprise to you to learn that the women of Switzerland fought for the right to vote for 100years. In 1959, 67 percent of Swiss men voted against that ballot and the struggle continued until Feb. 7, 1991, when that law was finally passed. (It should be noted that not all local governments or can- tons enforced the vote. Appenzell lnnerrhoden voted against wom- en's suffrage in 1973, 1982 and again in 1990, but later in that year the Swiss Supreme Court forced then to comply.) The story of one woman's strug- gle to be treated as an equal to men magnificently unfolds in writer and director Petra Volpe's "The Divine Order," Switzerland's fas- cinating entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. Combining the idea of the militant women from Aristophanes' "Lysistrata" with the character of Nora from Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House," Volpe gifted us with a most compelling film. Under her acute, sensitive direc- tion, we meet Nora, wonderfully played by award-winning actress Marie Leuenberger who burrows her heart and soul into her char- acter. She lives in a small village in Switzerland and as a typical house- wife, spends her days vacuuming, dusting, washing dishes, and care- fully hanging out socks to dry on the exterior clothesline, which one could interpret as a metaphor. Despite being married to her loving husband Hans, skillfully played by Max Simonischek, he is a typical male who is a product of his life and times regarding women's role in society. Nora is growing restless with a gnawing sensation that she wants to do more with her life than be a housewife, mother, and caretaker for her aging, unpleasant father- in-law. While going through the news- paper one morning, she comes across a help wanted ad for Swiss airlines and secretly applies for that position. Remember, this is early 1971 and not only can't women vote, they must secure the permission from their husbands to work out- side the home, which Hans, being quite happy with the status quo, says "no," - not in a mean way, but reflective of the mores under which he was brought up and still living under. Being a product of her own upbringing, Nora is not sure how to get what she wants. One day while biking into town, she encounters a suffrag- ette who is fighting for equality for women and gives the reluctant Nora literature on the movement. After absorbing the ideas outline in those pamphlets, and as the beautifully written narra- tive unfolds, Nora not only joins the movement but becomes one of the key organizers working close- ly with three other determined women superbly characterized by Rachel Braunschweig (Theresa,) Marie Leuenberger's Nora stands in line with her lusband Hans (Max simOnischec) and are read~ cast their ballots. Photo: Courtesy Of Zodiac Pictures Sibylle Brunner (Vronia,) ard Marta Zoffoli (Graziella.) Despie her husband and sons being teasd and shunned by their friends, Non remains steadfast and mobilizes the other women in the village. Like the defiant women h "Lysistrata" who withheld sex from their husbands until the/ agreed to stop going to war, Noras women are all now living under one roof and vow to stay there until the upcoming election which once again has the right to vote for women on the ballot. In the meantime the hus- bands tackle the chores their wives have heretofore been responsible for and, as you can imagine, there are some funny scenes with Hans and his boys as he tries to prepare meals but often winds up with pizza. Nora organizes a town meeting to try to educate the men, who are almost immovable. One anti-vote woman argues that they should PUtt0 Vote how many men would agree with Nora's position and as one might expect, the hands of almost all the men shot up in defiance. One man threw a wadded up piece of paper, which landed on Nora's nose, but there is not a hint tliat her life is actually in danger. Her husband does encounter some violent moments and what's interesting is that his character, as well as some of the other char- acters, has an arc so that there is perceptible growth and awareness. Augmenting the leading charac- ters, Volpe assembled an excellent supporting cast of women and men who, under her strong direction, deliver fully actualized characters and include, Bettina Stucky, Peter Freiburghaus, Therese Affolter, Ella Rumpf, Nicholas Ofczarek, and Sofia Helin. It is also commendable that she does not vilify the men but more shows them as being victims of Send your news worthy hi fez photos to We are looking for talented and dedicated residents who have a passion for writing to contribute stories to The Catalina Islander. Submissions chosen and printed will be compensated. For more information contact Jesus Ruiz, Subject line: Freelance Writer. their own upbringing and their struggles with trying to understand their women. Iri addition to the superb cast, the film has a highly textured, almost poetic look as exquisitely shot through the eye of cinematog- rapher Judith Kaufmann, enhanced by Annette Focks' original music, HansjiSrg Weissbrich sharp film editing, Su Erdt's striking produc- tion design, and Linda Harper's perfect period costumes. "The Divine Order" is par- ticularly relevant and timely as although the 19th Amendment to the American Constitution, ratified on August 18, 1920, gave women the right to vote, we are presently in the midst of a different kind of revolution as women finally have the courage to step forward and talk about sexual harassment that has been swept under the rug for decades. Volpe's film illuminates the bravery of the Swiss women who could not be intimidated out of their commitment for equality, and perhaps in a subtle way, supports their American sisters who have been silent for far too long. December 1 rough December 6 Shows Nightly at 7:30 Rated PG,B Admissionu dult $15.00 Senior & Child $13.00 Every Tuesday $10.00 Adm n For More Information Call 310-510--0179 THE CATAUNA ISLANDER Friday, Dec. l, 2017!11 J_