Synopsis: A present day white supremacist gets thrust back in time where the African Americans rule and the whites are the enslaved.
Cracka is a 2020 Series by Director David Rhesteghini. The film depicts a racist man named Michael Stone who hates black people. That is as much development as he gets in the opening act. The character hardly is someone to root for at first because he is cartoonishly racist. Large swastika tattoos on his head, trump 2020 stickers on his classic 70’s era muscle car. The first 10 minutes of the short half hour runtime of Cracka characterizes itself as a commentary rather than a story. Michael’s paper thin development is a trade-off for a tightly balanced voice against the demographic of who Michael is and this film hopscotches over the greatest hits of white nationalist culture. According to Rhesteghini, that is a short haired man who is in love with the 70’s, a woman who also plays a mascot of racism, and is generally a voter for right wing ideology. Michael is the characterization of a Young Turks article about a Trump rally. This film does a good job of showing Stone’s feelings of power and full territorial control over where he lives. This all changes in the second act when Stone inexplicably warps to a parallel dimension and simultaneously to the past during the slave era in America. The film takes a controversial though skippy approach to slave era trauma and simply flips the script on which race is enslaved. The rest of the runtime of this film depicts distressing scenes of white slaves getting sold, attacked, and fair warning there is a pretty distressing rape scenes in this film as well. I enjoyed this film because of the voice underneath of the visuals on screen Rhesteghini is a talent at this.
The message I gleaned from the subtext of this film is essentially asking question, grandiosely, but the same nevertheless. Cracka asks “what if it was you?” towards white America, addressing slavery in America. The painful scenes in this film voice the painful ancestry of black people in America and it shows the terror that Slaves of any race would go though except black americans actually have been through that.
Culturally this film is dull, the premise of switching who the slaves and masters were during those times falls flat. Black slave masters in the parallel dimension still wear white aristocratic style clothing. I thought Rhesteghini would take the culture of African people like the film Black Panther and dive into a true era of African run slavery. On the side, editing quirks and continuity blemishes move this film a notch below the “powerful” descriptor and let it rest on the shelf with other arthouse and conceptual films that lead with a top-heavy gimic rather than developing a meaningful story. Cracka is still a must see film though and it hits a lot closer to home because of it’s neighborhood voice style of storytelling and the memorial for slain black people at the end brought a tear to my eye. This film needed to be made though it’s staying power may not last too long.
Cracka will be available soon:
Arthouse Film | Gimmicky | Must see cultural film | 7/10