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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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


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Release Date:

4 March 2007 (USA)  »

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$30,000 (estimated)
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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Scott Camil, a Vietnam Veteran and founding member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, narrates the chapters pertaining to the Seminole Wars. Historians often refer to the Seminole Wars as America's "first Vietnam." See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pathography of a Peninsula.
27 January 2010 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

It's quite a decent documentary, done by a Miami native and using an innovative format.

Mostly, what we see are images -- paintings from the old days, movies and newsreels for more modern times. But instead of the several narrators telling us what we're looking at and what the images mean, we see printed statements, often quotations, on the screen and we read them ourselves. This is all to the good inasmuch as none of the narrators has a particularly compelling voice. They sound like you and me reading from index cards.

It's an ambitious film, covering about 12,000 years of Florida's history. Well -- a certain kind of history, what the writers have called an "invisible history," one not often brought up for public scrutiny.

Georg Koszulinski's sympathies are all for the underdog, so we're exposed to the U. S. Army's war in the 1840s against the Seminole and Calusa tribes; then on to Flagler, the millionaire architect of the real estate boom, and his failed attempt to build an overseas railroad to Key West; then the Ku Kux Klan; then the illegal immigrants who have replaced the slaves in labor-intensive industries like tomato picking.

The way the writer/director deals with Flagler's railroad is emblematic of his approach. Many veterans of WWI were brought to the keys to build the bridges and lay the rails. A more than usually powerful hurricane in 1931 washed away much of the work and killed more than a hundred workers. The bodies were piled up, doused with oil, and set afire. Some of the bodies burst open while burning. The final printed statement we see asks: "Who murdered the workers?" President Roosevelt's explanation that it was an act of God is implicitly dismissed. The last few minutes include a glimpse of a sign telling "G. W. Bush" to stay off Native American land. The film ends with a picture of what the Miami will look like in the future -- under water because of global warming.

I didn't find the sociopolitical position offensive, although I disagreed sometimes with the writer's inferences. Unsavory topics need to be brought to our attention from time to time. For every pathography like this one, there are a dozen that are cheerfully optimistic, full of boilerplate, that ignore the underside of what's commonly accepted as "progress." The film is helped considerably by the musical score than dances along in the background as we read the statements. Usually these are period songs, sometimes old and scratchy. The songs often have folk origins. Doc Watson is an example.

The images I saw were fuzzy, but not enough to confuse us about what we're looking at. Nice job, overall.


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