Punishment Park

Screening & LIVE EVENT
Punishment Park + Interviews with My Lai Veterans

Part of Amos Vogel Centenary: “Reality” as a Subversive Art
Friday, October 29, 2021, 6:30 p.m.
Museum of the Moving Image - Bartos Screening Room

With a special introduction by programmer and Film As a Subversive Art co-editor Herb Shellenberger. Followed by a live taping of the podcast The Last Thing I Saw.

Punishment Park
Dir. Peter Watkins. 1971, 91 mins. DCP. “The British director of The War Game offers a radical film about America's future. Based on the President's power, under the 1950 McCarran Internal Security Act, to set up detention camps for the radical Left in case of an insurrection, this ‘allegory in the form of a documentary’ postulates a situation, some years hence, in which revolutionaries are confined without due legal recourse and given the choice of either serving 15 years in a concentration camp, or three days in a special ‘punishment park.’ Here they must attempt, on foot and without water, to reach an American Flag, situated about 50 miles away in an arid desert landscape, while pursued (and if possible, trapped) by police and National Guard; if they reach their goal, they are free; if not, they must serve their sentence.”

Interviews with My Lai Veterans
Dir. Joseph Strick. 1971, 22 mins. 35mm. “This deeply disturbing cinema-vérité study consists of uncensored interviews with American veterans of the My Lai massacres. It is a film about death—and how somebody's death can be caused, faced and then talked about by the assassin. Clean-cut young Americans, now back in civilian life, recount with defensive smiles, false indifference, and concealed remorse, how and why they murdered. Disassociated from their acts, destroyed by war, dead in life, alien to guilt, they emerge as victims as well as executioners. Their artless straightforwardness convinces us immediately of the veracity of their horrifying self-indictment. The fact that their statements are accepted as truth is what creates the shattering, seditious effect of this film and separates it from the propaganda.”

The screening will be followed by a live taping of the podcast The Last Thing I Saw:
Amos Vogel’s 1974 landmark book Film as a Subversive Art remains an unparalleled guided tour of forbidden cinema. A newly issued edition from Film Desk Books offers the perfect occasion for discussing its rich and varied vision of cinema that pushes boundaries in political, aesthetic, and sexual realms, and for identifying examples of transgressive film today. This discussion will include Amy Taubin, critic and Artforum contributing editor; Herb Shellenberger, curator and co-editor of the new edition of Film as a Subversive Art; and Thomas Beard, cofounder and director of Light Industry. Moderator: Nicolas Rapold, writer and host of The Last Thing I Saw.

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum's admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.