Getting its bid in early, Switzerland has selected The Divine Order to represent it in the Foreign Language Oscar race. Directed by Petra Volpe, the period drama about the fight for equal rights for women has sold more than 300,000 tickets at home. In April, it played the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the Audience Narrative Award, the Nora Ephron Prize for Volpe, and Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film for Marie Leuenberger.
By accounts, Switzerland is the first to declare for Foreign Language this year. The majority of selections will roll in during early fall. Last year, Switzerland put forth Claude Barras’ My Life As A Zucchini which made the Foreign shortlist and then scored a Best Animated Film nomination.
The Divine Order centers on Nora, a young housewife and mother living in a quaint village with her husband and their two sons. The Swiss countryside is untouched by the major social upheavals the movement of 1968 has brought about. Nora’s life is not affected either; she is a quiet person who is liked by everybody — until she starts to publicly fight for women’s suffrage, which the men are due to vote on in a ballot on February 7, 1971.
At the Swiss Film Awards it won three prizes including Best Screenplay and Best Actress. Kino Lorber and Zeitgeist co-acquired it in the U.S. where it has an October release set.
Other international sales include Italy (Merlino Distribuzione), Germany/Austria (Alamode Film), China (DD Dream), Canada (Films We Like), Benelux (September Film), France (Version Originale), Spain (Surtsey Films), Former Yugoslavia (Discovery Film), Poland (Bomba Film) and Denmark (Filmbazar).
The film is produced by Reto Schaerli and Lukas Hobi for Zodiac Pictures, co-produced by Swiss Radio and Television and Teleclub with support from the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, Zurich Film Foundation, Canton of Aargau, Lucerne and Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Suissimage and Migros Kulturprozent. Trust Nordisk is handling international sales.