Sunday, December 19, 2010

1980 - FROM THE LIFE OFTHE MARIONETTES, Bergman film is not a comedy

Made in Germany during Ingmar Bergman's exile from Sweden, this is a fascinating failure.  The film follows a couple of secondary characters from Scenes From A Marriage and has an interesting story structure, jumping backwards and forwards in time. 

Peter and Katrina Egermann are one messed up married couple.  When the film opens Peter is seeing a prostitute who he ends up murdering.  The question for the viewer is why? 

Bergman directs

From the Life of the Marionettes, has a fascinating look to it.  The film starts and ends in color. The middle section is in black and white.  The dream sequences are photographed with the Egermann's nude on a completely white background.  Bergman is also the master of the film closeup when it comes to emphasizing the psychological or emotional makeup of his characters.  This is a really well made film. 

The problem Bergman ran into with this film was in the character of Peter Egermann.  Bergman's explanation for Egermann's murder of the prostitute is that Peter Egermann is a repressed homosexual who has been dominated by women his entire life.  This seems a rather dubious notion to hang a brutal murder on.  I haven't spent anytime around repressed homosexuals dominated by their wives and mothers but I kind of doubt this leads to killing sprees.

An interesting failure for Bergman.  A couple of attempts at something new visually but a weak story idea for a psychological study.

104 minutes.

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