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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  
Reviews: 6 user | 9 critic

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 ...
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...
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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Interesting and informative but has some key flaws in the style and delivery that do undermine at times
19 April 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Florida. State of sunshine, beaches, beautiful women, fun and leisure. That is what we "know" but director Georg Koszulinski goes beyond this superficial appearance and looks at the formative events that led us to the present day. Covering the Seminoles, the Indian war, the Ku Klux Klan and, of course, Walt Disney, the invisible history is revealed.

It probably would have helped to have more of an appreciation of what Florida is today beyond the very basic setting the film builds at the start but despite this I found this film accessible from the start and it did hold my interest for the duration. With mostly impressive sourcing and use of archive footage, Koszulinski delivers an engaging history of Florida from centuries ago up till very recent events. At times he uses humour but mostly his approach is straight delivery of the history albeit with a sense of mischief across the whole film. At times this mischief really works and this is best seen in the contrast with the "truth" over historical footage such as the section that deals with the sugar can workers. However at other times it does it in a very clumsy way and seems too keen to be getting to points (attacks?) that it really has no need to be making.

The unnecessary attack on Disney is one example of this – it is a weak point and doesn't really fit in with the wider themes that the film explores, just coming off like a quick dig rather than part of a bigger argument. Likewise linking the Klan's control of blacks to the disenfranchisement of votes in the Florida 2000 election seems a jump too far and seems motivated by the director's politics rather than something genuinely coming out of the film (and I speak as someone who holds quite liberal views and views that election as a low in modern western democracy). It didn't need to do this either because the subject does build and connect well to today in the way it moves into the issue of modern workers and the conditions they live and work in. Koszulinski also seems to underestimate his audience's ability to make their own mind up about the nature of Florida's history and I did sense he was pushing too much towards making us "shocked" or outraged by the truth – maybe he just didn't trust the material to be enough in this jaded age? The film's structure is a good try but it is not as tight and clear as it needed to be. The credits reveal definite "chapters" in the film but these were not that clear to me at the time. The structure of the film itself is predetermined by the natural use of time as the direction but this flows without that many clear breaks or steps. In fairness, it is clear at some points but not that often and I did feel that I would have benefited from some clear division of the film into clearer chapters by the use of headings for example. A secondary issue I had was the way that the does sometimes feel like a polemic rather than an unbiased documentary. The aforementioned quick digs are part of this but the way that the film is based on narration rather than the use of expert contributions also makes it feel like it is all coming from one point of view. This wasn't a major problem for me but the style did leave it on a fine line so that it was too easily nudged over at times.

The sound quality was poor at times but I accepted this as part of the budget and the nature of some of the footage but the "thanks mom" moment towards the end was a step away from professionalism that it didn't need to put on itself. If I sound overly critical then I'm sorry because I did actually enjoy the film for the central aims it had, because these were mostly achieved and were done in a way that made the film engaging even to myself – someone with no real knowledge (or interest!) in Florida. There is plenty of scope for improvement of course, but this is still an interesting and informative account of a silent history.


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