Set in a detention camp in an America of the near-future, Punishment Park‘s pseudo-documentary style places a British film crew amongst a group of young dissidents who, faced with lengthy jail time, have opted to spend three days in ’Punishment Park’.
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Watkins' faux documentary take on the suppression of activism and free speech in 60's/70's America is a riveting and important documentary that in the era of internet monitoring, internment camps and the flag waving right is still important now. Controversial at time of release one only has to watch to see that the same controversy would envelop a similar picture being made today. One of Watkins' best.
Not to be missed. This stunning faux documentary fashioned with anger and utter disenchantment with the American system. It is frighteningly prescient. . When I show the film to college students, there is usually a foreign student who asks seriously; "Is this what really happened?" The film made me a real Peter Watkins fan. His commitment to the agit-prop style is inspirational.
By no means a subtle film, but - as one of the characters says - "there's no place for poets in this culture." Not an easy or even enjoyable watch - nor should it be; this is a strength of the film rather than a strike against it. Way too full of truths to be 'fiction'. Its current-day relevance can't be overstated.
A polemical classic and damning indictment on the dystopian role of an increasingly authoritarian establishment. The cinematic revolution took place in the early 70s, and it included this acerbic faux documentary masterpiece.