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The Advocate (1993)
In this heavily fictionalized account of several criminal trials of animals—an ass in 1750, rats in 1508 and a pig in 1457—the unrelated prosecutions are conflated into one short period in the fictional French village of Ponthieu in 1452. The film ends with the arrival of the plague in the village, an event that did not occur in the feudal county of Ponthieu until 1480, and then again in 1523 and 1582.
This film is noted here because of the curious introduction of a fictional secret society. While the lawyer, Richard Courtois, searches for clues to explain the murder of a young boy, he is briefly suspicious of the local seigneur, Jehan d'Auferre, who has told him that he has a brotherhood which he describes as "a kind of a guild." Although the purpose of this group of regional seigneurs is only to control local markets and negotiate commodity prices, the lawyer's clerk suggests without evidence that the group is derived from the heretical Cathars and the Templars, disbanded in 1312.
Seigneur Jehan d'Auferre makes no such claim. Within the context of the story, this adds another red herring to Courtois' enquiries, but the unfounded accusation of a secret society involved in killing children [01:03:00] would also have resonated with audiences in the early 1990s, especially those who were aware of the growing popularity of conspiratorial interpretations of history, often targeting Freemasonry and an erroneous belief in it's Templar origins, and those aware of the Satanic Ritual Abuse moral panic of the previous decade.
While chatting with Richard Courtois (Colin Firth), Seigneur Jehan d'Auferre (Nicol Williamson) mentions his "brotherhood": "It's a kind of guild." [00:47:40]
While looking at a woodcut print of "The murder of a young Jewish boy by the diabolical Flemish brotherhoods in the godless city of Den-Haag," Mathieu notes that D'Auferre has a brotherhood.
Courtois replies, "Yes, why would a lord run a guild. What do they do there?"
Mathieu: "It's all riddles, play little boys' games.
Courtois: "Think of the old orders, the most secret ones: the Cathars and the Templars. They taught us in school that the King of France burnt every heretic three generations ago. What if some madmen keep the faith? Bring them back to life a hundred years on?"
Mathieu: "It's a Cathar family. D'Auferre. They were Cathars." [01:00:15]
Later, in the middle of the day, Courtois accidently spies on a group of cowled figures discussing trade negotiations and market prices. [01:03:00]
The average viewer, would not have realized that this language referred to Freemasonry, but to someone familiar with the history of masonophobia, the connexion would be obvious.

The Hour of the Pig (original title). Directed and written by Leslie Megahey. Colin Firth, Ian Holm, Donald Pleasence, Amina Annabi, Nicol Williamson, Michael Gough, Harriet Walter, Jim Carter, Lysette Anthony, Sophie Dix, Vincent Grass, Elizabeth Spriggs, Raoul Delfosse, Justin Chadwick, Jean-Pierre Stewart. France | UK, English, 102 min, Dolby, Rankcolor


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