The Raft (Flotten)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – 7:30pm
Sweden/Denmark/USA/Germany 2018. Dir: Marcus Lindeen. 97 min. DCP

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.

Post-screening discussion with Dale Beyerstein and Jennifer Gibson.

Dale Beyerstein is a philosopher who has taught at Malaspina College, Douglas College, Kwantlen College, UBC, and Langara College. He is a co-founder and director-at-large of the B.C. Skeptics.

Jennifer Gibson is a clinical ethicist at Providence Health Care. Her soon-to-be- completed PhD work, on the context of heart failure and end of life in acute practice settings, includes a particular sensitivity to ethics, culture, language, and moral distress.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

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

“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