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  • Saturday, March 18

    8:15 PM (88 mins)
    BAMPFA

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Punishment Park

An evocative synthesis of Bertolt Brecht and cinema verité, Peter Watkins’s dystopic fiction depicts a United States where government authorities, citing the McCarran Act, detain political activists on the grounds that they “probably will engage in . . . acts of espionage or sabotage.” The film follows the televised trial of one group of detainees and the progress of another who have opted for a grueling endurance course in lieu of lengthy prison sentences. As the Daily Mail remarked upon the film’s release, “A few years ago we might have dismissed the film as the figment of a crazed imagination. Today its documentary overtones are all too horribly real.”

Kate MacKay
Preceded By

Off the Pig

San Francisco Newsreel, United States, 1968

One of the first films documenting the Black Panther Party, this radical newsreel includes interviews with Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver, as well as a recitation by Bobby Seale of the Panthers' Ten-Point Platform.