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Film / From the Life of the Marionettes

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From the Life of the Marionettes (Aus dem Leben der Marionetten) is a 1980 film by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, made in West Germany. Bergman shot it in German language engaging German actors and none of his regular cast.

The film tells a story of the married couple, Peter and Katerina whose marital life is on the verge of collapse. Peter's dissatisfaction with their relationship finds its way out when he kills a prostitute who strongly reminds him of the wife.



  • Alliterative Name: Katharina Krafft aka Ka.
  • Bookends: The film both starts and ends in colour. It is only several minutes in both cases. The bulk of the movie is monochrome.
  • Continuity Nod: Seems that Peter and Katarina are the same people as the characters in Scenes from a Marriage played by Jan Malmsjö and Bibi Andersson.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: middle-class version. Peter Egermann was not abused but rather suppressed and disciplined by his domineering mother.
  • Darker and Edgier//Hotter and Sexier: This film is probably Sexier and Edgier than previous works by director.
  • Defiled Forever: Peter will be that in the opinion of Tim once he has sex with a prostitute. So then he'll become a homosexual.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Tim was lusts after Peter so he tries to corrupt him and makes him know a prostitute. He believes that after the experience with a hooker Peter will shift away from his wife and then they'll start a relationship. Oddly Jensen, the psychiatrist sommewhat confirms that this scheme was not as zany as it might seem. He thinks that Peter in fact is a latent gay whose homosexuality was suppressed by the bourgeois millieu.
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  • Deliberately Monochrome: Lampshaded by the first scene which is in color in its beginning.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The hooker killed by the main character is the stand-in for his wife. They share the same name Katarina/Katharina though the hooker is referred to as Ka.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Once Peter has the one.
  • Fan Disservice: As it is an arthouse psychological drama, nudity is shown in a less than exciting way. Nude people are galore in this film shot already in 1981. Somehow they do not arouse.
  • Flashback The story is told through those by the relatives and friends of the couple.
  • Freudian Excuse: For the murder of Ka.
  • I Love the Dead: Not shown on-screen, but it's stated that Peter sodomized Ka's body after strangling her.
  • Lingerie Scene: For Ka the prostitute it is rather Shirtless Scene but it is said that this trope is male only. In any case Ka wostly walks onscreen without bra though she has her panties on..
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Peter is shown in this way in his dream.
  • Meaningful Name: Krafft (or rather Kraft) means "Force, Strength"
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted as the film features Katarina Egerman and Katharina Krafft aka Ka.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Two female characters are called Katarina Egermann and Katharina Krafft.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Arthur practices it when Peter is suicidal.
  • Villainous Breakdown Tim the Depraved Homosexual has something of a kind in fron of the investigator because his conscience torments him as he let the future murderer know the future victim because of his own zany scheme.
  • Visible Boom Mic: For one second 57 minutes into the film.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Katarina cheats on Peter with various lovers.
    • Subverted onscreen when she does not cheat on him with Jensen the psychiatsrist.
  • Zany Scheme: Tim mentions to Peter about a (female) prostitute he knows (not in the biblical sense as Tim is a homosexual). He thinks that when Peter cheats on his wife with her he'll begin to distance from the spouse and then he might start shipping Tim himself. He actually is right to an extent in that Peter inded is a latent homosexual as per Jensen the psychiatrist.


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