I started to post this over on the Film board, but then I realized that I was talking more about the politics and theory behind the film, rather than the movie itself.
I rented CSA and watched it last week. For those who haven't heard of it, it's a fake documentary of an alternate-history US, where the South won the Civil War and then took over the whole country.
I came away from it with mixed feelings. I like the conceit of alternate histories, so that appealed to me. The modern-day ads were well-done.
But as much as the film wanted to sell itself as a researched and plausible alternate history, I couldn't take it seriously. The longer the movie went on, the more the historian and political scientist in me got annoyed.
Several reviews compared the movie to books like "Fatherland" (which featured Nazis winning WWII) and "The Plot Against America" (which had fascists beating FDR for office). But the former was set in 1964, and the latter in the 1940s. Neither assumes that its alternate events would actually be sustainable long-term in their existing forms.
But this movie does. It assumes that slavery would take a *firmer* hold in the US, and only gain in popularity and use over the next 140 years. The rest of the world advances as before, but the US stays so stuck in an antebellum mindset that no civil rights advances happen at all for a century and a half. Even science seems to have gotten trapped in a pre-Civil War mindset. For instance, the film portrays the widespread acceptance of "dreptomania," a supposed slave disorder proposed before the Civil War. We're supposed to believe that that bad science actually gained a foothold, while other old bad theories (like phrenology) were presumably disposed of.
Thus, while the film's suggestion of a slaveholding US is plausible up until the turn of the 20th century, the more contemporary it gets, the more absurd it becomes.
In a way, it almost displays what I've heard called geographic bias. It posits that because the South was once home to a bunch of slaveholders and racists, the South will *always* be dominated by slaveholders and racists. And that barring outside force, the South would never change, and would continue in its slaveholding ways forever. That's just not something I can fathom. As society and technology would advance, a slaveholding US would eventually advance and change too. It couldn't continue indefinitely to exist in a bubble of overwhelming support for the enslavement of other people. In other word, the film's core concept is that if the South had won the Civil War, Americans would have gotten really backward and stupid, and stayed that way for 140 years.