DUET FOR CANNIBALS

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December 05 only

Black and white still from Duet for Cannibals

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Essayist, novelist, critic, cinephile, and all-around intellectual dynamo Sontag made her directorial debut with this definition-defying, dryly funny psychological serio-comedy, the result of a Swedish studio’s invitation to her to make a film in Stockholm. The result, revolving around the quadrangular relationship between an arrogant ex-revolutionist German intellectual exile, his elegant wife, their Swedish student secretary, and the earnest secretary’s bride-to-be, is a roundelay of partner-swapping that gradually drifts towards uncharted territory, gamesmanship that broaches the surreal and violent. Defying literal-minded interpretation, Duet for Cannibals is both an illustrative companion to Sontag’s criticism, and introduction of a startlingly original filmmaker.

Directed by Susan Sontag, 1969. 105 mins. A Metrograph pictures release.

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