Frida & Lasse Barkfors' Pervert Park is not an easy viewing experience, delivering a humanizing portrait of a group of sex offenders living in the secluded, safe haven of sorts, a Palace Mobile Home Park in St. Petersburg, Florida. Documenting the day to day of this group of offenders struggling to reintegrate into society, Pervert Park is an observant study that lets its subjects tell their own story. The more cynical viewer could argue that the individuals of Pervert Park are hand-picked in an effort to empathize with these "sexual predators", but I'd strongly disagree, as Pervert Park remains very objective on the individual characters it documents, speaking more the society issues which impact these characters inability to rehabilitate themselves, such as the vilification of all sex offenders by society, and the the private, for-profit prison systems, just to name a few examples. Pervert Park is a film truly about Punishment vs. Rehabilitation, with its crowing achievement being that it puts a face and voice on these mysterious, evil "sex offenders" we as a society make generlizations about, with us as a society doing the same sort of cherry-picking in our desire to assume they are all violent sexual predators. I wouldn't say that Pervert Park makes excuses for these characters, it simply showcases how generalizations strip away what makes us human, our individualism, showcasing how this concept applies just as much, if not more, to those who have made terrible mistakes such as some sex offenders, with these negative generalizations pointing towards vengeful punishment instead of empathetic rehabilitation. This film also captures how responsibility is an important step towards rehabilitation, showing how these characters at times struggle to look at themselves in the mirror due to what they've done. Pervert Park doesn't hold back either, making it a difficult watch, as the viewer, at times, can struggle just as much as the sex offender when it comes to them mulling over their past mistakes in detail. While it can be a tough film to experience, Pervert Park is powerful document of sex offenders that gives them a voice beyond the societal generalizations, a film that acknowledges the need for personal responsibility while it comments on the societal failings and asks humanity to be more empathetic towards those that have made terrible mistakes.
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