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August 2006


by Kam Williams


Director: Kevin Willmott
Format: Color, NTSC
Language: English
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating: Unrated
Studio: IFC
DVD Release Date: August 8, 2006
Run Time: 89 minutes



DVD Explores What if the South Had Won the Civil War?

If you’ve ever wondered what the course America history might have taken if the South had won the Civil War, you might like to check out CSA: The Confederate States of America. Written and directed by Kevin Willmott, this tongue-in-cheek mockumentary unfolds much like a Ken Burns PBS production. Willmott has cleverly spliced reams of authentic historical footage with some inspired staged fabrications, editing them together seamlessly to present a country where slavery never ended. The film also contains present-day commercials in order to convey the sense that one is actually watching television.

For instance, the Confederate Family Insurance spot features whites frolicking in front of a suburban home with a picket fence. That trademark tableau is unremarkable till the very end of the ad when a voiceover proudly proclaims, “For over 100 years, protecting a people and their property,” while showing a slave toiling away in the garden.

Spoofing everything from World War II to the Home Shopping Network, the movie presents a very familiar country except for the fact that slavery still exists. So, the NAACP stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Chattel People, and blacks attempting to escape from their condition are diagnosed as suffering from a mental illness referred to as Runaway Slave Syndrome.

CSA is a sophisticated mind-binder which makes a significant social statement about America’s legacy in an in-your-face fashion, leaving the viewer wondering whether the South might have actually won the Civil War afterall. For in a telling postscript, the picture sorts out some of its fact from fiction, explaining that much of what you’ve just witnessed, such as Niggerhead Cigarettes and Coon Chicken are real products which were only relatively recently discontinued.

Infinitely creative, CSA offers an alternately sobering and humorous look at America’s lingering legacy of racism.

Excellent (4 stars)