Punishment Park

The neglected English master Peter Watkins—who came into international prominence with The War Game (1967)—has specialized in political forms of pseudodocumentary throughout his career, including a treatment of historical subjects done in the form of TV news shows. In 1971, he made his only major feature in the U.S., a terrifying look at a future America where civil liberties are suspended, deliberately blurring many of the usual boundaries between documentary and fiction while staging a kind of psychodrama with his nonprofessional actors. The results are both hysterical and unforgettable, as well as creepily up to date in certain respects. There are other Watkins features that I prefer, but all are worth seeing. 88 min.

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