starring Naian Gonzaléz Norvind, Dario Yazbek Bernal, Mónica Del Carmen, Sebastian Silveti
written and directed by Michel Franco
starring Francisco Barreiro, Luisa Pardo, Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez, Teresa Sánchez
directed by Nicolás Pereda
by Bill Chambers I'd heard that Michel Franco's New Order was the new Parasite but from the rich people's P.O.V., and I'm here to tell you that Parasite from the rich people's P.O.V. wouldn't be Parasite. Still, I did find the basic premise of New Order quite promising as social commentary: In Mexico City, mounting class resentments spark an uprising against aristocracy on the same day a local heiress is due to be married. I imagined a modern-day storming of the Bastille, but this is a film, for better or worse, of 21st-century ideas, and it introduces a wrinkle into our eat-the-rich fantasies--military intervention--that becomes a tsunami. An elderly man (Eligio Meléndez) who used to work for the family of the bride, Marianne (Naian Gonzaléz Norvind), shows up at the wedding claiming his sick wife needs money for an operation. (If you watch HBO's "Succession", you know the kind of territory he's wading into.) The mother (Lisa Owen) wants to help but is cowed by the guests' stinginess, while Marianne's brother (Diego Boneta) tips him like a bellhop and expects him to shoo. They're unwittingly justifying the fury of the vandals and looters advancing on their home; only Marianne is truly sympathetic to the old man's plight, going so far as to leave her own wedding (with one of the help in tow) to pick up his wife and drive her to the hospital. But during her absence, the military hatches a diabolical plan to manipulate the situation so as to solidify the caste system rather than see it evolve: they will abduct any wealthy citizens who've strayed from home--mostly the younger set, which leads to a lot of youthful flesh being exploitatively displayed as hostages are stripped naked and hosed down--and ransom them back to family members, pinning the responsibility for these kidnappings on the protestors.