The Raft

Sweden/Denmark/USA/Germany 2018. Dir: Marcus Lindeen. 97 min. DCP

“The surprisingly short leap from radical academic study to lurid exploitation is navigated with wit, sensitivity, and rueful social awareness.”

VANCOUVER PREMIERE! The top-prize winner at Copenhagen’s CPH:DOX in 2018, Marcus Lindeen’s utterly engrossing documentary recounts the baffling Acali Experiment of 1973, in which 11 perfect strangers drifted across the Atlantic on a cramped, motorless raft as part of a “scientific” study on the origins of violence and aggression. Conceived and conducted by radical Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés, the controversial social experiment tasked ten volunteers — six women, four men, from diverse ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds — to float from the Canary Islands to the Americas on a vessel designed for minimal privacy and maximal sexual temptation; i.e., the perfect kindling for conflict! Forty-five years later, Lindeen replicated the boat on a soundstage and invited the surviving participants to reflect on their 101-day stint aboard the “sex raft” (so-called by scandal-stoking tabloids) and their near-murderous relationship with Genovés, the reckless puppet master who took things dangerously too far.



“It sounds like Big Brother on a boat, but The Raft is an absorbing portrait of a bold (or foolhardy) historical experiment that hits many of today’s hot-button topics, dominated by a compelling and complex central figure.”

Empire | full review


Wednesday, April 24 - 7:30 pm