Punishment Park (Masters of Cinema Series) in October
Eureka Entertainment have announced the UK DVD release of Peter Watkins' Punishment Park as part of their Masters of Cinema range for 3rd October 2005 priced at £19.99.
Both controversial and relentless in its depiction of suppression and brutality, Punishment Park was heavily attacked by the mainstream press and permitted only the barest of releases in 1971. Set in a detention camp in an America of the near-future, Punishment Park's pseudo-documentary style (continuing Watkins' subversive innovations with Culloden and The War Game) places a British film crew amongst a group of young students and minor dissidents who have opted to spend three days in 'Bear Mountain Punishment Park'. The detainees, rather than accept lengthy jail sentences for their 'crimes', gamble their freedom on an attempt to reach an American flag — on foot and without water — through the searing heat of the desert. The pursuit of Group 637 — a lethal, one-sided game of cat-and-mouse with a squad of heavily armed police and National Guardsmen — is contrasted with the corrupt trial of Group 638 by a quasi-judicial tribunal.
Unlike Easy Rider's mythologising of American counter-culture, Punishment Park's uncompromising stance, and its uneasy parallels with Guantanamo Bay, retain a powerful and prescient message in the post-9/11 present. Rarely seen in the UK, The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to celebrate Punishment Park's 35th anniversary with its first British release on home video.
- Newly restored high-definition transfer (shot on 16mm, Punishment Park has been remastered from a new 35mm print struck from the restored 35mm blow-up negative held in Paris)
- 30-minute video introduction by Peter Watkins
- Full-length audio commentary by Dr. Joseph A. Gomez (author of the 1979 book Peter Watkins)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- 32-page booklet with two essays and reprints