The Cage describes the adventures of a “mad” artist. In a symbolic or real self-mutilation, he takes out his own eye,

which immediately escapes from his studio and into an open field and then meanders through San Francisco. His blinding is accompanied by complete schizophrenia. He alternates with his double throughout the film.

His girlfriend, who is also his model, frightened by his mad groping around his studio for the lost eye, gets a doctor. The girl, the doctor, and one of the two protagonists then chase around the city after the eye. Throughout the film the perspective alternates between that of the pursuers and that of the eye itself. The eye’s vision is filmed through an anamorphically distorted lens.

The strategy of the doctor is to catch the eye and destroy it. To save the eye, the double has to thwart the doctor's attacks with darts and rifles. Eventually the eye is recovered, and the schizophrenic becomes the original young man. His first act as a reunited man is to knock out the doctor who otherwise would have ruined his recovery, and presumably, taken the girl.

In a deliberately parodic ending, the artist and girl walk off hand in hand. He embraces her in a field, and she flies out of his arms into a tree.

Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde, 1943-2000, P. Adams Sitney

still from The Cage

another still

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