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Punishment Park + Interviews with My Lai Veterans

Friday, Oct 29, 2021 at 6:30 PM

With a special introduction by programmer and Film As a Subversive Art co-editor Herb Shellenberger

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.”

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.

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