The Raft

The Raft
Director: Marcus Lindeen

Sweden, Denmark, USA, Germany, 2018, documentary, 97 mins., English, French, German, Swedish, Spanish, Japanese with English and Lithuanian subtitles, N-16

In the summer of 1973, five men and six women embarked on a 101-day scientific sea-adventure, drifting on a small raft named Acali across the Atlantic. In an experiment initiated by Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés, the project’s aim was to explore the origins of violence and the dynamics of sexual attraction. The eleven members of the crew were handpicked from around the world with the objective of mixing religion, gender and nationality to maximize friction on board.

Genovés called the expedition a Peace Project but it did not take long for the international press to rename it The Sex Raft, a nickname which still upsets some members of the crew. As leader of the experiment, Genovés had hoped that violent conflicts and sex orgies would result from the close quarters in which his human guinea pigs were forced to live, but what ultimately happened on that drifting raft was entirely unexpected. Instead of fighting or having sex, the group slowly turned against him. Mutiny was discussed and at one point there was even a plan to kill him.

Today, more than forty years later, the surviving members of The Acali Expedition reunite in a film studio where they climb onboard a stylized reconstruction of the Acali raft to tell the hidden story behind what has been described as “one of the strangest group experiments of all time”.

2018 the film received the Best International Documentary award (DOX:Award) in the CPH:DOX, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival

About the director

Marcus Lindeen is a writer and director. He made his debut with documentary feature Regretters, which won the prestigious Prix Europa for Best European Documentary in Berlin, the Swedish Academy Awards (Guldbagge) and the Swedish Emmy for Best Documentary in 2011. His second film was fiction feature Glorious Accidents, that premiered at The Venice Film Festival, winning the prize for Best Medium-Length film. Lindeen’s theatre work has been produced and presented at Sweden’s National Theatre (Dramaten), The National Theatre in Oslo and The Schaubühne in Berlin. His latest short film Dear Director picked up a prize when it premiered at The Locarno Film Festival in August 2015. In January 2017 he presented the upcoming film as an art installation at Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Section: Wide Angle

Screenplay: Marcus Lindeen

Dir. of Photography: Måns Månsson

Music: Hans Appelqvist

Producer: Erik Gandini