Short film review: CRACKA – slavery role reversal

November 23, 2021

Promotional poster for CRACKA courtesy of the Vyre Network

Aya Pfeufer travels to a fictional past, where blacks were the masters

CRACKA is a short film (described as a 20 minute experimental episode), directed by Dale Resteghini which explores the theme of racism through role reversal: where white people are enslaved by black masters.

The protagonist, Michael Stone is a Neo-Nazi, white-supremacist who magically travels back in time. Agitated and confused in his new environment, he finds himself threatened by a black man shouting at him, holding a gun to his head, telling Michael to come with him.

Michael walks past a lynched white person and stares in shock. The black man then puts a large, thick rope around Michael’s neck and viciously tightens it, continuing to insult him.

In the next scene, Michael finds himself in a slave auction, where the bidding begins. He is sold for the highest price to Dex Jackson, a violent and cruel black slave master. The first thing Dex does is interrogate Michael, as he wants to test how educated he is.

Dex takes away Michael’s full name and replaces it simply with a number. This is a way to remove Michael’s identity. At the plantation, the slave masters are portrayed as violent, physically and sexually, to oppress, degrade and intimate the slaves.

Eventually, Michael reaches a point where he wants to protest and fight against the slave masters. In the process, he encourages other slaves to do the same, though some are hesitant.

At night, Michael carries out his plan to escape. However, the slave masters manages to track him down and threaten to rape a woman if he doesn’t return. This scene escalates, as a slave master threatens to shoot Michael. Michael resists and the master starts to violently beat him. With rage, Michael attacks him back, holding him to the floor. The fight lasts for a while until Dex approaches them sternly with a gun in his hand and pulls the trigger.

Overall, CRACKA explicitly depicts themes of torture such as beatings and rape, which can be triggering and highly disturbing to the viewer. However, it encourages us to think about the pain and suffering black people have experienced for centuries. A large power imbalance between the slaves and slave masters restricts their freedom.

Director of the film, Dale Resteghini, a white American music video and film director, implies that he made CRACKA to enable white Americans to reflect on racism and slavery with a “new perspective”.

As systemic racism is an issue that does not affect white people, CRACKA helps us challenge our views on racism and deeply reflect on where extremism leads.

CRACKA is available exclusively on Vyre Network which can be downloaded globally on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Android, iPhone, and the web