The Mafu Cage

USA 1979, Feature film, 105' | Director, Contact Karen Arthur | Screenplay Don Chastain, Don Chastain | DoP John Bailey | Editor Carol Littleton | Sound Gib Jaffe, Michael C.Moore | Music Roger Kellaway | Cast Lee Grant, Carol Kane, Will Geer, James Olson, Budar, William Sherwood | Production Clouds Productions

After her father, an ape researcher, dies in Africa, Ellen and her psychically disturbed sister Cissy live in a villa with strange and exotic furnishings. The two are connected by a peculiar (incestuous?) relationship. Cissy keeps a “mafu“ in a cage. She loves to draw pictures of him. When she loses her temper, however, he has to die and be replaced. Ellen longs for normality and starts an affair with her attractive colleague, David. While she is on a business trip, she leaves Cissy in the care of an old friend of the family. When David turns up unexpectedly, the course is set for disaster … The Mafu Cage (also known as Deviance My Sister, My Love and Don’t Ring the Doorbell) is based on a stage play by Frenchman Éric Wesphal. The combination of horror shocker and psycho-drama is impressive in its directing and acting performances.


American KAREN ARTHUR, born in 1941, appeared as an actress in various cinema and television productions in the 60s and 70s. She played opposite Paul Newman in Winning (1969). Her directing debut Legacy (1976) won many awards, including the Los Angeles Critics Award for Most Promising Filmmaker. The Mafu Cage , Arthur’s second directing work, was the opening film at the Festival de Cannes. Later she worked mainly for television. For an episode of the series Cagney and Lacey she won an Emmy award in 1984. Her cinema film Conditional Love will be screening shortly in cinemas.

Karen Arthur
Feature Film
Focus: Freedom