The Mafu Cage

A foray into the incestuous lives of two sisters, Karen Arthur's second feature is a slow, visually beautiful tale of sexuality and madness, with a haunting score by Roger Kellaway. Cissy (Kane, excellent) is creative and crazy. She's in love with her dead father and her doting older sister Ellen (Grant), and has turned their living-room into a claustrophobic jungle (they were brought up in Africa). At one end is 'The Mafu Cage', a home for primates - and a coffin if they go too far. For neither man nor ape (there's a lovely orang-utan involved) may touch her, Ellen, or their father's collection of phallic African treasures without violent consequences... At which point the film becomes problematic; the pace starts to drag; Ellen's relationship with a man is unconvincing; the two women's attitudes toward their own sexuality evolves in very unliberated fashion. Despite this, the hot-house aura remains enticing, and although the narrative comes close to exploitation, there's a surprisingly loving depth to the characters.

Release details

Duration: 101 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Karen Arthur
Screenwriter: Don Chastain
Cast: Lee Grant
Carol Kane
Will Geer
James Olson
Will Sherwood
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