CSA: The Confederate States of America

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  • Comedy, Drama, Mockumentary , produced in 2004 USA
  • Actors: Charles Frank, Shaun Toub, Jeris Poindexter, Rhonda Stubbins White
  • Directed by: Kevin Wilmott
  • Rating: 6.4 out of 10
  • Plot Summary: Kevin Willmott's funny and alarming mockumentary, C.S.A.: THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, springs from an ingenious premise: the South defeated the Union army and won the Civil War. The film presents itself as a British television series about the history of the C.S.A. In Willmott's faux history, British and French troops joined with the Confederates to rout the Northern armies. With Lincoln jailed and Jefferson Davis in the White House, the C.S.A. goes on to invade Mexico and South America, sides with Hitler in World War II, and builds a giant wall between itself and Canada. Breaking up the "history" lesson are commercials from the modern day C.S.A., slick ads for the Slave Shopping Network (imagine QVC pitching "pickaninnies"), and Coon Chicken Inn (an actual 1950s restaurant). Presented by Spike Lee, C.S.A.: THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA clearly has done its historical homework. Though the film will invariably be linked with such mockumentaries as WAITING FOR GUFFMAN and THIS IS SPINAL TAP, Willmott's film is not character-driven (with the exception of the privileged and smug presidential candidate, John Ambrose Fauntroy V, played to perfection by Larry Peterson), and the jokes are much more historical and even academic in nature. Willmott clearly knows the hidden truths of the real African-American experience, and the movie's most startling and disturbing moments are when the "parallel universe" seems awfully familiar. One of the most unnerving scenes is an advertisement for "Runaways," a TV show about catching runaway slaves that looks almost identical to COPS. Other times, the humor is so broad and audacious that the film shares similarities to the should-I-laugh-or-grimace comedy style of SOUTH PARK. However, unlike SOUTH PARK, Willmott has a real agenda: beneath the wit and the quips, he launches a powerful attack on both the C.S.A. and the U.S.A.
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