Duet for Cannibals

dir. Susan Sontag / 1969 / Sweden / 105min.
The film was inspired by the works of Ingmar Bergman

A definition-defying, psychological drama-comedy, thriller, political-erotic film – it is not easy to put “Duet for Cannibals” into one single genre. Sweden was where the American author, critic, director and debater Susan Sontag made her first fiction feature film. The film company Sandrew, which co-produced several French New Wave directors, including Jean-Luc Godard and Agnès Varda, contacted Sontag. Sandrew ended up producing two films by Sontag: “Duet for Cannibals” and “Brother Carl”.

Tomas (Gösta Ekman) and Ingrid (Agneta Ekmanner), two young left-wing radicals, live in a relationship that has cooled off. One day Tomas applies for a job with a middle-aged exiled revolutionary, Dr Bauer (Lars Ekborg). The doctor is busy putting together an account of his life, and he employs Tomas to sort out his correspondence and diary notes. Both Bauer and his wife Francesca seem to be suffering from unspecific, unexpressed illnesses. Bauer demands that Tomas moves in to keep Francesca company. Soon Tomas’ girlfriend Ingrid joins them. Jealousy breaks out in various directions, and they all clash.

105 min
country / year of production:
Sweden / 1969
Susan Sontag
Lars Swanberg
Göran Lindgren / Sandrew Film & Teater AB
selected festivals and awards:
1970 – The Swedish Film Institute's Quality Grant; 2021 – Jihlava IFF
Susan Sontag Retrospective
politics psychology relations

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