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Still from the film Duet for Cannibals (1969) showing a woman holding another woman's head as they both look forward

Sontag, From the Archives

Friday Feb 7, 2020 7:30 PM This is a past program

The UCLA Film & Television Archive presents classic film and contemporary cinema in the Hammer's Billy Wilder Theater.

On the 50th anniversary of Susan Sontag’s debut feature, Duet for Cannibals, the Archive screens a new 2K restoration of the film and joins with UCLA Library Special Collections to present highlights from the Susan Sontag Papers. Acquired in 2002, the contents of the Papers reflect Sontag’s intelligence, energy, and seamless integration of her wide-ranging interests in her work and life. In addition to notes, research, and manuscript material relating to her writing, theater, and film projects, the collection includes personal and professional correspondence, journals, highlights from her library, personal photographs, and various ephemera related to her public appearances. Facsimile collection materials will be on view in the lobby, followed by a brief presentation before the screening.

Duet for Cannibals

New 2K restoration

Essayist, novelist, critic, cinephile, and all-around intellectual dynamo Susan 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. 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, the film is a roundelay of partner-swapping that gradually drifts towards uncharted territory and gamesmanship that broaches the surreal and the violent. Defying literal-minded interpretation, Duet for Cannibals is both an illustrative companion to Sontag’s criticism and the introduction of a startlingly original filmmaker. (1969, dir. Susan Sontag, DCP, black and white, in Swedish with English subtitles, 105 min.)