A nearly naked woman caresses a man’s head. Suddenly the man goes berserk, throws her to the ground. She flees, tries to hide, he pursues her. In the darkness of the lush red room he finds her and strangles her until she is dead. AUS DEM LEBEN DER MARIONETTEN begins like a crime thriller, but with the murder at the beginning. What follows is a series of scenes (now in black-and-white) in which the film tries to determine the killer’s motives. A psychological study in the best Bergman style.
Successful businessman Peter Egermann (Robert Atzorn) has murdered the prostitute Katarina, called Ka (Rita Russek). The head of inquiry interrogates several persons to learn more about the murderer. They include Peter’s old friend and psychiatrist, Prof. Mogens Jensen (Martin Benrath), his mother Cordelia (Lola Müthel), his wife Katarina (Christine Buchegger) and her gay colleague Tim (Walter Schmidinger). They each have their own view of the perpetrator, who has been living in a love-hate relationship with his wife, and they all have their own desires and longings in their dealings with him.
In Munich, where Bergman lived and worked off and on between 1976 and 1985, he gathered a group of outstanding German actors who act out this drama with great intensity, a drama that takes up many motifs from earlier Bergman films, but reveals them in an entirely new light.