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Punishment Park DVD (Peter Watkins) (NTSC Region 1)


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Punishment Park DVD (Peter Watkins) (NTSC Region 1)
PUNISHMENT PARK - Director Peter Watkins won an Academy Award in 1966 for his incendiary short film THE WAR GAME. From there it all went down hill for him. While he continued to make films, some even for major studios like 1967's PRIVILEGE, his work has been systematically savaged by critics and each successive film has received only the most minimal release. His films were over-looked when the age of video hit us full-force in the early '80s and even the DVD years of the '90s to the present sees only one Watkins film available on disc in any couuntry in the world. For shame. What the relative few who have scene Watkins' sometimes flawed but always brilliant films know is that he stands as an accute observer and, most importantly, an active participant in the culture of opposition (both cinematic and in the "real world"). While many of Watkins finest works lie mouldering or liquifying into vinegar, the director continues to find even his contempory work marginalized and undistributed to a world grossly in need of true, confrontation political cinema. PUNISHMENT PARK stands as one of Watkins' finest films (beside his true masterpiece, EDVARD MUNCH, and other fantastic works such as CULLODEN and the aforementioned PRIVILEGE). This 1971 film depicts a "near future" world inwhich political revolutionaries and casual protestors alike are given the option of running the course of "Punishment Park" for a few days instead of being subjected to lengthy jail terms. Punishment Park is a barren stretch of California desert that has been transformed into a police training ground. There the dissidents must travel 50 miles on foot to an American flag to gain their freedom while hunted by "the pigs". Those who lose suffer the ultimate price for their beliefs: death. Meanwhile, as one group of radicals heads for the flag, the group currently on trial debates a courtroom full of conservatives who hold their respective fates in their wrinkled hands.... Watkins himself plays an English reporter out to cover the events. While never seen on film, his voice would be familiar to anyone who has seen any of his films, as he performed the voice-overs for his '60s and '70s films. While seemingly far-fetched and falling marginally into the realm of science-fiction, in our days of comprimised free speach in the wake of the September 11 tragedy and television programs such as SURVIVOR and its inevitable copies, the world that Watkins depicts is more valid a statement than ever. What a shame that so few stand to see this superb French DVD of PUNISHMENT PARK, which also features two very rare Watkins short films, DIARY OF AN UNKNOWN SOLIER and THE FORGOTTEN FACES as well as a lengthy English-language essay on history and aftermath of the film. Highly recommended.
  • NTSC Region 1
  • Specially-filmed 28 minute introduction by Peter Watkins
  • Feature length commentary by Dr Joseph A. Gomez
  • "The Forgotten Faces" (1961) - 18 minute amateur film by Peter Watkins
  • Text essay by media critic Scott MacDonald on audience responses to Punishment Park
  • Original 1971 Press Kit
  • Peter Watkins filmography
  • Cast & Crew Information
Price: $16.99
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Quantity Available: 2
 
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