Punishment Park and Le Silence De La Mer - Release Dates

hodg100

Distinguished Member
Even our French is good enough to translate the title of the latter of these latest two 'Masters of Cinema' releases, but I think we'll need the subtitles for the body of 'Silence de la Mer' - that is released 23rd January 2012. Punishment Park will be released on the very same day.

Punishment Park

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Both controversial and relentless in its depiction of suppression and brutality, Punishment Park was heavily attacked by the mainstream press and permitted only the barest of releases in 1971. However, like Haskell Wexler’s Medium Cool (1969) and Robert Kramer’s Ice (1969), Peter Watkins’ film has established itself as one of the key, yet rarely seen, radical films of the late 1960s/early 1970s. Giving voice to the disaffected youth of America that had lived through the campus riots at Berkeley, the trial of the Chicago Seven and who were witnessing the escalation of the Vietnam War, Punishment Park was named by Rolling Stone as one of their top ten films of 1971 and has earned many admirers in the four decades since its release.

Set in a detention camp in an America of the near-future, Punishment Park’s pseudo-documentary style (continuing Watkins’ subversive innovations with Culloden and The War Game) 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.

Unlike Easy Rider’s mythologising of American counter-culture, Punishment Park’s uncompromising stance, and its uneasy parallels with Guantanamo Bay, retain a powerful and prescient message in the post-9/11 present.

Cert - 15
Running Time - 88 Minutes

Le Silence De La Mer

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Jean-Pierre Melville’s debut film – is an adaptation of the novella of the same title by celebrated French Resistance author Vercors (the pen name of Jean Bruller). Clandestinely written in 1942 during the Nazi occupation of France and furtively distributed, it captured the spirit of the moment, and quickly became a staple of the Resistance.

Melville’s cinematic adaptation – partly shot in Vercors’ own house – tells the story of a German officer, Werner von Ebrennac (Howard Vernon), who is billeted to the house of an elderly man (Jean-Marie Robain) and his niece (Nicole Stéphane) in occupied France.

One of the most important French films to deal with World War II, and a landmark in Melville’s distinguished oeuvre, Le Silence de la mer is a lyrical, timeless depiction of the experiences and struggles of occupation and resistance.

Cert - U
Running Time - 84 minutes
 

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