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Punishment Park


Peter Watkins
United-States, 1971
Production : Chartwell
88'
English
French


Synopsis


Fable politique, inspirée par l'application du McCarran Act : une loi d'exception est votée en 1970 à la faveur d'une aggravation du conflit au Nord-Vietnam, autorisant à placer en détention "toute personne susceptible de porter atteinte à la sécurité intérieure". Dans une zone désertique du sud de la Californie, un groupe de condamnés est amené, contre la promesse de leur libération, à traverser le désert à pied, sans eau ni nourriture, pour atteindre le drapeau américain sans être capturés par les forces spéciales armées et motorisées lancées à leur poursuite.

Tënk's film review


Au centre du dispositif formel de "Punishment Park", il y a cette volonté de Peter Watkins de remettre en cause tous les codes qui régissent les mass média. Initié avec "Culloden" puis "La Bombe", son style docu-fiction oblige le spectateur à se mobiliser. Chacun joue ici son propre rôle et le sentiment de malaise est grandissant face à un réalisme que chaque plan contredit en clamant sa propre artificialité. La critique politique n’en est que plus efficace et l’uchronie d’hier prend aujourd’hui une inquiétante dimension prophétique.

P.C

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filmmaker

Peter Watkins

Peter Watkins, born in 1935, is an English director. After studying drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, he was soon recruited by the BBC. He then directed "The Bomb" (Oscar for best documentary, 1966), a film that was censored in England for 20 years. This experience was to be decisive, Watkins moved away from his country and made counter-current films. As a convinced pacifist and media critic, he proposed a committed and atypical cinema, freed from traditional narrative and aesthetic forms, dealing in particular with war and its absurdities. "Les Gladiateurs" (1968), "Punishment Park" (1971), "Edvard Munch" (1974), "Le Voyage" (1987) and "La Commune (Paris, 1871)" (2000) are all landmark films in the history of cinema.

Other films in the collection: Highlights