e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu

11/11/2011

CSA

CSA: The Confederate States of America is not as shocking a film as it thinks it is. CSA imagines how the contemporary world might look if the South had won the American Civil War. Interesting premise, though the premise doesn't really go anywhere.

[spoiler alert...] What does the film imagine as the consequences of a Confederate victory? Slavery is legalized throughout the land. Abe Lincoln dons blackface, is taken into hiding by Harriet Tubman, and eventually is captured and exiled to Canada. The Confederate States colonize much of Latin America. South Africa becomes their chief ally. The late nineteenth century? Pretty much manifest destiny on steroids.

Clever and intriguing but once you know the premise, you pretty much have experienced the film. I will say that the narrative structure is smart and effective. CSA takes the form of a British documentary airing on a Confederate tv station for the first time, complete with commercial breaks. The commercials are brilliant.