AMERICAN CIV.-1 Image

AMERICAN CIV.-1

By admin | July 3, 2001

It makes sense that such modern life issues as music, movies, and values would create a generation gap, but you’d think young and old alike could agree on something that’s as fixed as history. Think again. Devin Uzan’s witty and scathingly cynical animation “American Civ.-1” ably shows how history, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Grandpa stubbornly clings to the traditional history lessons he had drilled into his head as a child, wrapping himself up in the American Flag of Manifest Destiny and equal opportunities for all in this nation of immigrants. Billy has a drastically different take on the virtues of American history, however. A product of today’s politically correct values, the young cynic, who sounds like a chipper “South Park” character, cheerfully morphs Manifest Destiny into the displacement of the Native Americans and rolls it up with the destruction of nature and the evils of urban sprawl and pollution. He shines a light on the hypocrisy of a Constitution that granted equal rights to everyone… but the slaves brought over against their will. Though this film conveys a grim message, its bitter medicine is made a little easier to swallow by a bright and cheery animation style which recalls the relentlessly upbeat “Schoolhouse Rock” cartoons of yesteryear. The sad part is, Billy’s version of history is the more accurate of the two, making “American Civ.-1” as useful in its way as that simplistic predecessor used to be.

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