Set in a detention camp in an America of the near-future, Punishment Park's pseudo-documentary style 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. Both controversial and relentless in its depiction of suppression and brutality, Peter Watkins' film has established itself as one of the key, yet rarely seen, radical films of the late 1960s/early 1970s.
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