A Day at the Park
Before there was "Blair Witch Project," there was "Punishment Park." Directed by Peter Watkins, this 1971 fake documentary seems so real it's scary. The film is about a detention center, called Punishment Park, in which anti-Vietnam War protesters are questioned by a tribunal about their activities. The prisoners then can opt for a jail sentence or Punishment Park, which is an endurance test to reach an American Flag planted in the desert without being captured by the National Guard. While watching the film, I did not see one moment in which I saw the players "acting." The grainy 16mm footage, the explosive emotions, and the choppy editing make it seem like a "Punishment Park" did actually exist. Although the hippies and yippies seem time-capsule worthy, the idea that the U.S. government could arrest citizens without just cause and wipe them off the slate is more topical than ever before.