Directed by Peter Watkins
in 1971, Punishment Park
is filmed borrowing the documentary vocabulary in order to create an ambiguity on the reality of this story. In fact, the movie introduces a “state of emergency” decreed by Richard Nixon (inspired by the real McCarran Internal Security Act
) and authorizes federal authorities to detain people who could “represent a risk for society” without referring it to the American Congress. In this regard, arrested people can choose either to spend some time in prison or to participate to Police training in Punishment Park.
Punishment Park is a remote place in the Californian desert where young dissidents have to walk for 60 miles without being recaptured by the police. The pseudo-documentary dramatizes a session which turns to human hunting after a cop is being killed. Dissidents are shot one by one.
Punishment Park is therefore an heterotopia in its extraction from the “real world” and the total abolition of law it implies, bringing human to a state of cold violence between predators and preys.