Release date:July 25, 2008
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.