Due to an unfortunate inability to obtain the required materials in time to do my original project, I had to change gears mid stride. My gaming group is starting up a major American Civil War game next year so I went with a civil war angle. Although my family at the time of the Civil War lived in the North, being a native born Virginian I do have some Southern sympathies (particularly for this state which only seceded reluctantly). Plus I find the Confederate cause oddly romantic, as a Yale professor remarked some time ago defeat is sometimes more interesting to historians than victory.
Here is the final work, I will discuss below:
I blended Video, Audio, Writing (the fictional diary entries) and Still Visual shots in this piece. I was trying to capture the enthusiasm that gripped both sides at the war’s opening, what an early 20th century writer called “an abundance of unctuous fury.” The fictional diary entries are meant to be humanizing and give an individual viewpoint on the sweep of events. The Confederate national anthem is damn addicting and gets stuck in your head so easily (I guess that was the point). It also captures the eagerness of Southerners to defend their liberties. I included the FAMOUS Ashokan farewell violin piece because at its quiet stages it pairs nicely with the paintings of the war, but it peaks as I switch to photographs of the real consequences. I was trying to show that while the war was romantic and glorious in the artist (and many Americans’) vision it had very real, very human consequences. I didn’t want my film to turn into a “ra ra South” movie like many adherents to the Lost Cause tradition make, while I do sympathize and to some extent agree with the South this was a horrible, horrible war. Finally I included the “I’m a good ole rebel” bit accompanied by the scene from Gods and Generals to show that many Southerners didnt forget what happened and were bloody bitter about it. Again, I can kind of relate to that, its a human emotion. Plus, I like the song (why oh why did the Confederacy have WAY better songs than the Union? we may never know).