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“C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America,” a Faux Documentary That Skewers Real White Supremacy

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Confederate States of AmericaWe can’t say we weren’t warned, and sometimes the warning comes from far away and goes unheeded. The boldly premonitory mockumentary “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America,” which premièred in 2004 and was released in 2006, is coming back to IFC Center this weekend; it’s an ingenious vision of political, moral, and historical horrors. The premise is that the South won the Civil War; that the Confederacy annexed the Union and renamed the country the C.S.A.; that it turned out to be a pseudo-democratic, repressively racist state; and that this movie is a broadcast (complete with mock commercials and public-service announcements) of a long-suppressed documentary about the country’s history, made by the British Broadcasting Service

The writer and director of this ferociously imagined and deftly realized film is Kevin Willmott, who, more recently, wrote the great “Chi-Raq” with Spike Lee (who is credited as “presenting” “C.S.A.”). Like “Chi-Raq,” the movie is an impassioned fantasy that reveals unbearable and nearly inexpressible realities—or, rather, blatantly oppressive realities that are so commonplace as to escape the notice of more or less everyone but their victims. Within its fictional framework, “C.S.A.” X-rays the depth and extent of American racism and the appalling ordinariness of white supremacy.

The show starts with an innocuous-looking faux commercial for an insurance company, with... Read more



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