The new documentary by Marcus Lindeen tells the story of the 1973 Acali experiment and the surprising results that emerged from the 101 days at sea.
Margareta Hruza
Hruza is a Czech/Norwegian filmmaker and a regular film critic at Modern Times Review.
Published date: October 20, 2018

Org: Flotten)Country: Sweden, Denmark, USA, Germany, 2018, 1h 37min


The Raft was recently screened at the Nordic Panorama just after it premiered at CPH:DOX where it won the main documentary prize. The movie follows the journal of the Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés who decided to study violence among humans in what he called «the Acali experiment». Clearly inspired by Thor Heyerdahl’s Ra expedition, in which he was a participant himself, Genovés decides to isolate a group of people on a small raft called the Acali and let them drift over the Atlantic ocean for 101 days hoping to observe the origins of human aggression.

The Sex Raft

Of the hundreds of applicants responding to Genovés’ ad, he made sure to only pick young and sexually attractive people with very different backgrounds, nationalities, religions and social statuses. In order to provoke some male frustration he chose only women for important decision-making roles such as being the captain, the doctor and the professional diver. The men were reduced to mundane tasks like cleaning and cooking for the rest. Would the men slowly try to overpower the «weaker» sex? Would the participants conduct wild sex orgies during the three months of isolation? And who would initiate the first signs of frustration and aggression?

<br>[ntsu_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NS4dNAccGM

Filmmaker Marcus Lindeen has written a thrilling narration from Genovés’ personal journal that leads us throughout the story:

«I don’t think they realise that this trip will be very dangerous, but as a social anthropologist I need to study them under danger so that they will act upon their instincts. Maria (the captain) is the only professional sailor on board and she knows that the ocean is not going to be a playground.»

«I don’t think they realise that this trip will be very dangerous, but as a social anthropologist I need to study them under danger so that they will act upon their instincts.» – Santiago Genovés

This narration combined with the authentic 16mm film material documenting the whole trip gives us an authentic flashback of the 1973 voyage, but what makes the form of this film truly unique is Lindeen’s reconstruction of the raft in a film studio. He brings an interesting theatrical aspect to the story by inviting the survivors to participate once again. One cannot watch The Raft without becoming curious about …


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