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Cracker Crazy: Invisible Histories of the Sunshine State (2007)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 49 users  
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Renegade filmmaker Georg Koszulinski takes on Florida's history from a decidedly different point of view. Blending archival and original footage, he brings to life a cast of historical ... See full summary »

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Title: Cracker Crazy: Invisible Histories of the Sunshine State (2007)

Cracker Crazy: Invisible Histories of the Sunshine State (2007) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Scott Camil ...
Narrator
Renee Cranford ...
Narrator
Georg Koszulinski ...
Narrator
Shamrock McShane ...
Narrator
...
Narrator: Osceola and Micanopy (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Himself (archive footage)
Katherine Harris ...
Herself (archive footage)
Clint Robinson ...
Narrator
...
Himself
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Storyline

Renegade filmmaker Georg Koszulinski takes on Florida's history from a decidedly different point of view. Blending archival and original footage, he brings to life a cast of historical characters spanning over 12,000 years, from Florida's ancient Indians to the migrant farm workers of the 21st century. Meet Osceola and the Seminoles, who fought alongside escaped slaves in the most costly Indian War in American History. Unmask Florida's Ku Klux Klan and don't forget about Walt Disney and Henry Flagler - perhaps the two characters most responsible for the Florida we know today. Written by Anonymous

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All histories are invisible histories, some are just more invisible than others.


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4 March 2007 (USA)  »

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$30,000 (estimated)
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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Koszulinski made numerous visits to the Florida Photographic Archives, ultimately viewing a majority of the 900 plus films in the collection. See more »

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8 March 2007 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

This is from a young filmmaker, whose previous projects I've seen. There are two. The first, "Blood of the Beast" was amazingly ambitious cinematically. The skills required to support the highly folded ambition weren't there, but I would much rather see something clever that fails (or partially succeeds) than something mundane and perfectly manufactured. His second project "Silent Voyeur" was cinematically ordinary with the risk in the narrative, with folding experiments similar to the visual ones of the prior project.

This is wholly different. The setup here is to start with mostly archival footage on Florida. These are films from the last 50 years or so created to tell tourists what Florida is, and at the same time tell Floridians what legacy they inherit — nearly all inhabitants being migrants. Naturally, these begin with bathing beauties — oddly always in some formation suggesting plentitude of purchasable pulchritude. Glossed over this is standard historical tripe: a happy story of why things became how they are.

What KoszulinskI does is take this "visible" cinematic image and report on the "invisible" history underneath. And its a very shameful set of events that when you string them together define Florida as something so damaged in its being that it is doomed to a schizophrenic existence that will produce manic results. We start with native Americans and proceed through deliberate injustices, then to vets and the environment, all couched in lies. The gimmick is that we SEE the lies in these archival movies.

Its a good idea. Its done well enough to matter, especially the anchor in the recent stolen US presidential election. Its perhaps a bit too long. There's one cinematic blot, a recreated image of a Spaniard arriving and "seeing" the land. It looks comic and could have been part of the fold, what he sees and we now do.

I know a fair amount of Indian history and a few small details were wrong so far as some images used. But that's niggling.

Two major historical segments are mishandled.

One concerns Disney. There are tons and tons of things that could have been said of Disney the man, his empire there in Florida, and general corporate thuggishness. There's similarly a ton of things to be said about how the sweet notion of a world Walt created in his movies are a major contributor to how we can take messy guilt and "retell" it to seem rosy. He helped define cinematic rosiness. So there's a world of opportunity here. Instead Koszulinski picks the thinnest of excuses: Walt saw Leni Riefenstahl, Nazi filmmaker, when she came to Hollywood and "Snow White" was allowed on Hitler's movie screens when it was the most popular movie in the world.

What a shame to have missed this, and undermined all else with this slight excuse.

The other problem is an omission made obvious by the intrusion of the filmmaker in the film. Toward the end, he mentions that he grew up there and that his mother was terrific. It underscores the omitted situation today. Florida is a essentially a Hispanic world with some retirees parked in large groups. Its Cuban, a whole culture that defines itself in terms of myth, a myth that is seldom examined. Its obvious that in this one instance, the filmmaker himself has a stake in keeping at least some history hidden.

Makes it a bit more interesting and persuasive.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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