From the Life of the Marionettes (Aus dem Leben der Marionetten, W.Germany, 1980)

Consoling passion?

It was interesting watching this ‘German’ Bergman in the midst of the New German films I’ve been looking at. Whilst I think of Bergman as a ‘philosophical’ filmmaker often dealing with characters’ metaphysical angst, watching these characters try to deal with their anomie, after yesterday’s Fassbinder, suggests that – in this film at least – Bergman is critiquing the bourgeoisie.

This probably out-grims the Fassbinder. Partly this is to do with the bleak monochrome cinematography (Nykvist: brilliant of course); partly the devastating, opening murder – shot in lurid red – that sets the rest of the film up as an investigation into the protagonists’ motivation.

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