CSA: Confederate States of America

Rated NR

It’s pretty rare that I wish a film were longer, but I really could have sat through another hour of CSA. The concept is that this is an evening of television in a world where the South won the Civil War. Featured is a fictional documentary made by the “British Broadcast Service” about the history of this alternate America, complete with commercials for “Sambo Motor Oil” and “N****r Hair Cigarettes” (both real products from the early 20th century). Cutting between interviews with “historians” and “documentary” footage of the effect of enforced slavery upon the western hemisphere, it’s so close to home that it’s occasionally uncomfortable to sit through. It’s also a tremendously complete document, featuring scenes from vividly imagined popular films, newsreels, presidential debates and campaign commercials, all of which vary just enough from the real thing to be painfully familiar. One of the most inventive and interesting films in recent memory, Confederate States of America hides its edification inside engrossing entertainment.

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