Close-up of a hex and counter Civil War board gamealr

The Annotated Field Guide of Ulysses S. Grant

Directed by Jim Finn.
US, 2020, 16mm transferred to digital video, color, 61 min.

Traversing time, space and ideology, Finn overlays the trajectory of the Civil War onto—sometimes oblivious—contemporary sites of notorious bloodshed, punctuated not by explosions and reenactment, but by the camera’s deadpan observations and the animated actions of war boardgames, trading cards and various ephemera—all in the grainy haze of 16mm. Colleen Burke’s enterprising, bewitching soundtrack helps lead the way across the States through swamp and suburb, passing by the remaining memorial markers, monuments, ruins and museums—in various states of repair—as Finn relates absorbing tales of Grant and a supporting cast of complicated characters attempting to either suppress or advance the brutal “white supremacist rebellion” that cost thousands of lives and has yet to be exorcised from the soil or the soul of America. – BG

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Devour the Land: Cinema, landscape, history.