Sunday, December 31, 2006

[1980] FROM THE LIFE OF THE MARIONETTES: Decent enough and entertaining Bergman film about nice, unhappy Peter Egermann (Robert Atzorn) who has a sudden moment of violence and kills a prostitute to the shock of everyone who knew him. Marionettes starts with the murder and spends the rest of the movie jumping around between the police investigation and sessions with Peter's psychiatrist (back when Freud was still taken seriously) and scenes from Peter and Katarina's marriage (Katarina played by Christine Buchegger--and the Egermanns themselves are supposed to be characters from Scenes From a Marriage.) Everything scene is presented--I don't know--formally with title cards indicating where they took place in relation to the murder, like Bergman was stringing together pieces of evidence and leaving it up to you at home to determine why Peter kills. And there's blame for everybody--Peter, Katarina, his mother, the psychiatrist, Katarina's business partner who introduced him to the prostitute. Their marriage was a big culprit too, one of those hate each other/can't get enough of each other kind of deals. There's almost too much evidence; in the end, all that matters is that Peter has been trapped by life, wiling away his days in a locked room in a sanitarium playing chess against a computer. I liked this more than I thought I would, given Bergman reputation for being depressing--not that this wasn't depressing, but it was pretty vital too. It's a very watchable little character study--not must-see by any means, but if you run across it give it a try.

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