The Raft

Documentary Rated: NR 97 min
Sunday, August 4
Play The Raft movie still

In the summer of 1973, five men and six women embarked on a 101-day scientific sea adventure across the Atlantic on a small raft named “Acali.” In an experiment initiated by Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés, the group set out 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 aim 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 that still upsets some members of the crew. As leader of the experiment, Genovés had hoped to be able to report on his human guinea pigs, telling tales of orgies and violent conflicts, but it seems that the outcome was very different. 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 in Stockholm, board a reconstruction of the raft and tell the hidden story behind what has been described as “one of the strangest group experiments of all time.”

“There is no collection of human beings too small for conflict, as anyone who has had roommates or endured a family car trip surely knows. [This is] the subject of a fascinating new documentary…” — A. O. Scott, New York Times
directed by
Marcus Lindeen
written by
Marcus Lindeen
Daniel Giménez Cacho, Maria Björnstam, Mary Gidley, Rachida Lièvre
English, French, German, Japanese, Swedish, Spanish
Sweden, Denmark, USA, Germany
production company
Metrograph Pictures