From the Life of the Marionettes (1980)

from the life of the marionettes poster 1980 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visual: 8/10

Most Bergman is still better than a lot directors

Average Bergman

Movie Info

Movie Name:  From the Life of the Marionettes

Studio: Movie Studio

Genre(s): Movie Genre

Release Date(s): Movie Release Date

MPAA Rating: Movie Rating

from the life of marionettes razor blade

Always smile…no matter what

Peter Egermann (Robert Atzorn) has a secret desire…he wants to experience killing.  When he kills a prostitute named Ka (Rita Russek), Peter wife, family Katarina (Christine Buchegger), and friends must come to grips with Peter’s actions and why he did it.

Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, From the Life of the Marionettes (Aus dem Leben der Marionetten) was a West German film.  Following Bergman’s documentary Fårö Document 1979, it premiered at the Oxford International Festival of Films and aired on German television on November 3, 1980.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film as part of the Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema which celebrated the director’s one-hundredth birthday.

from the life of the marionettes tim walter schmidinger

Aging sucks…

I got the Ingmar Bergman box set because I respect all of the Bergman films I’ve seen and haven’t seen a number of them.  With nice, crisp transfers, it is fun to explore Bergman’s “lesser” films and see films like From the Life of the Marionettes in a great presentation.

It is hard to say that Bergman has lesser films since even in films like this that could have been simple, Bergman takes a different approach to the storytelling.  The movie starts out with the murder then explains the crime (or tries to).  You see the warning signs, the people involved, and Peter’s mental state.  It is done through interviews (after the crime) and flashbacks to before the crime.  It is an interesting roll-out of a psychological examination.

The cast is good.  Robert Atzorn’s conflicted Peter Egermann is creepy yet believable while Christine Buchegger as Peter’s wife and Lola Müthel who plays Peter’s controlling mother are good as the backup characters.  Walter Schmidinger has a great scene as the Tim character discussing the idea of aging, and Martin Benrath is rather creepy as the psychiatrist who has crossed a line with his patient.

from the life of the marionettes rita russek robert atzorn

Thanks for being nice to me…now I’ll kill you

The film is largely black-and-white with some color.  It provides a starkness that exists in Bergman’s earlier films and makes it feel more like a throwback instead of a film made in 1980.  The appearance of the movie helps apply to the detached nature of Peter’s crime.

From the Life of the Marionettes was a worthy watch and does have that distinctive Bergman feel.  Bergman provided the couple as a reimagining of his Scenes from a Marriage couple under different situations and this was also Bergman’s only completely German film.  Bergman followed From the Life of the Marionettes with Fanny and Alexander in 1982.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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