Introduced by Kier-La Janisse, author of House of Psychotic Women.
One of the most compelling and uniquely dark films of the psychotic woman subgenre, Karen Arthur’s The Mafu Cage stars Lee Grant as Ellen, an astronomer who lives with her feral sister Cissy (Carol Kane) in the large house left to them by their now-deceased anthropologist father. The distinction between the two sisters – one a caregiver with social responsibilities, the other an angry pet – is illustrated through aural cues: weird harpsichord music accompanies Ellen’s limited private life while pounding tribal percussion underscores Cissy’s fanciful existence alone in the house, which is decked out in exotic African textiles, pelts and artifacts. The centerpiece of their livingroom is a large cage, where Cissy keeps her rotating queue of ‘mafus’ (monkeys) who live as long as she will let them before she loses patience and sentences them to death. When Ellen is courted by a co-worker, Cissy’s bubble is threatened and the interloper finds himself at the centre of a violent sacrificial ceremony. –Kier-la Janisse
Director: Karen Arthur. 102 min. 1978. 35mm.
Part of the series House of Psychotic Women. The book of the same title will be available for purchase.
Ticket Price: $12, Film Club Member: $8.
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