The Mafu Cage Film Details
Overview: Ellen, a successful astronomer, cares for her mentally-ill sister, Cissy, who keeps a variety of primates in the home they inherited from their anthropologist father. When Ellen begins a romance, Cissy’s jealousy proves deadly.
Tagline: A terrifying love story.
Review: This adaptation of a play by Eric Wesphal stars Lee Grant and Carol Kane. They’re cast as sisters who live in an old mansion; Kane is clearly very disturbed and is also very childlike. She pitches fits when she doesn’t get her way and also resorts to emotional blackmail. Grant has a very tough time playing nursemaid to her younger sibling, but had made a promise to their dying father that she always would take care of her. When Grants’ co-worker (James Olson) expresses a romantic interest in her, the thought of a man coming between them drives Kane even further into insanity. Kane always has been a unique and remarkable performer; “eccentric” would be a kind way to put it. This independent, now somewhat obscure feature showcases her to great effect. In fact, she’s all too convincing, in a role that was improvised to an extent, and which requires her to work extensively with an orangutan named Budar. Grant is no less impressive, as the kind of character that naturally earns some sympathy. It can’t be easy looking after someone like Kanes’ character. (Although it must be said that leaving Kane to her devices at a crucial point was a disaster waiting to happen. This viewer realizes that it’s an essential part of the plot, but still doesn’t exactly ring true.) A highly engaging Will Geer, as a character named Zom, and Olson provide fine support, but “The Mafu Cage” is first and foremost a vehicle for the two talented ladies at the centre. It’s also decidedly unpleasant in its psychological approach (characters take turns being victimized in the title location), and it must be said that people who take exception to animals being mistreated on film (even if the scenes had to have been simulated somehow) will want to give this film a pass. Notable assets are the production design / set decoration (the main room of the abode has an African jungle theme), and the striking, atmospheric score composed by Roger Kellaway. This was an interesting venture for the director, Karen Arthur, who made only a few feature films over the course of her career. It even touches upon such taboo subjects as incest. Overall, it’s something unusual for seekers of cinematic curiosities. Six out of 10.
Country: United States
Duration: 102 min
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Also known as: La jaula de Mafu,Don’t Ring the Doorbell,La jaula del terror,Mafu cage,The Cage,The Mafu Cage,My Sister, My Love,Mafu (una terrificante storia d’amore),Der Mafu-Käfig,Clouds,MAFU 悪魔の檻,Deviation