TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT March 2006

film

Peter Watkins’s Punishment Park

AT LONG LAST it may be Peter Watkins’s moment. The most prescient, innovative, and accomplished of overlooked English-language movie masters, Watkins has directed twelve feature films of various running times, from the imploded forty-seven minutes of The War Game (1965) to the alternatively discursive and meditative fourteen-hour The Journey (1983–85)—both, not incidentally, antinuke films. Although Privilege (1966), his fake rockumentary starring Swinging London supermodel Jean Shrimpton, had a limited art-cinema release, television is Watkins’s battleground. His explicit contestation of televisual forms, standards, and practices and his implicit condemnation of their effects on society have more often than not resulted in his films being rejected by the very networks that commissioned them. The War Game, which depicts London in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, was banned by the BBC

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