Toeing the line between speculative fiction and ripped-from-headlines civil unrest, New Order from Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco just got a new trailer, depicting an increasingly volatile socio-economic powder keg erupting on the streets of Mexico in a world plagued by overwhelming class disparity.
Premiering at last year’s Venice Film Festival, New Order was met with some ruffled feathers and piercing criticism of its depiction of the classes at war in the film. Particularly, the apparent depiction of the upper class under siege as being predominantly-light-skinned, while the rioting working class are stereotyped as dark-skinned, put the film and director Franco under scrutiny in Mexico, where local news and social media channels were vocally in opposition. Franco defended himself by urging those upset to judge the final film, rather than the trailer that sparked the outcry.
The new trailer is certainly not subtle in its messages, and conjures a palpable, uneasy atmosphere as the threat of violence looms, the initial splatters of green paint upon the wealthy family caught amidst the rioting an eerie premonition of… less innocent splatters to come, perhaps. Some early word of mouth has compared it to Bong Joon-ho’s colossal 2019 success Parasite for the depiction of class warfare, though that strikes me as superficial.
Having no stake or knowledge of New Order, it’s the idea that, at the very least, it might spark conversation on the ever-present economic divide–in Mexico and elsewhere–that catches my eye. Neon is set to release New Order to North American theaters on May 21, later this year. Certainly the notoriety it’s garnered may precede it, but hopefully audiences can approach Franco’s film with the concerns of the Mexican people, as well as the intentions of the filmmakers, when it arrives next month.