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From the Life of the Marionettes

(Aus dem Leben der Marionetten)
West Germany 1980. Dir: Ingmar Bergman. 104 min. DCP

No surprise that Michael Haneke (Benny’s Video, Funny Games) admires this much-neglected, German-language Bergman feature, made just before Fanny and Alexander; From the Life of the Marionettes, a work of devastating psychological violence, could be a prototype for much of the Austrian director’s own transgressive work. Bergman’s film opens with a shocking crime: an affluent young businessman’s brutal murder of a prostitute in a tawdry Munich peepshow parlour. It then proceeds to analyze the background to this seemingly inexplicable act, detailing the protagonist’s superficially happy marriage to a successful fashion designer, his relationship with his wife’s gay business partner, and the emotional aridity and alienation of their comfortable, materialistic lives. “One of Bergman's most powerful and troubling explorations of this atomic fission in the human soul. He should be the first filmmaker to win the Nobel Prize” (Jack Kroll, Newsweek).