Punishment Park, Peter Watkins, 1971 88 min
6:30 - 8:00 PM, Visual Arts Screening Room, 219
UC San Diego

In Punishment Park, political dissidents face citizen tribunals set up by the Nixon administration to try revolutionaries and antiwar activists. These are kangaroo courts in which a guilty sentence is predetermined. The defendants must choose between lengthy jail terms or three days in Punishment Park. Almost all choose the latter, entering a “game” with the object of reaching the American flag on the other side of 56 miles of scorching hot desert with no food or water, as police and military units carry out counterinsurgency exercises on them. The participants are told that they will be pardoned if they reach the flag.
-David Carr