In 1973 a group of five men and six women set off on a three-month trip across the Atlantic on a small raft as part of an experiment in which anthropologist Santiago Genovés hoped to explore the roots of violence, hatred and sexual attraction. However, it didn’t go according to plan. In 2018 it became the subject the documentary The Raft, in which Marcus Lindeen reconstructs perhaps the strangest group experiment.
“If it had worked out, it could have been the first reality show. Incidentally, Mexican television financed the trip,” said the director. However, the expedition was called off when Genovés became ill, due, many people said, to the fact he had lost control of the group, which had turned on him. “Santiago wrote two books about this expedition. He is vague in them as regards his thoughts and the scientific facts. However, he admits openly that his behaviour influenced the behaviour of the group. Many colleagues criticised him for this experiment. At the same time, it could be described as successful. He discovered that people get on despite all kinds of differences. Santiago had been expecting the opposite,” said the director of the Docs section film.
Genovés, who died five years ago, later planned a solo trip across the Atlantic in a glass boat. “But when it was being put to sea the boat broke. That probably saved his life. Nevertheless, Santiago was destroyed. So at least he wrote a book, fiction, about sailing across the Atlantic and shedding manly tears into the sea,” Lindeen said.