From the Life of the Marionettes (1980) - full transcript

Made during Bergman's tax-related exile in Germany, the film continues the story of Katarina and Peter EGermann, the feuding, childless, professional couple who appear in one episode of "Scenes From A Marriage." After Peter perpetrates a horrendous crime in its first scene, the rest of the film consists of a non-linear examination of his motivations, incorporating a police psychological investigation, scenes from the EGermanns' married life, and dream sequences.




I'm tired.

Now you shall sleep.



Twenty hours after the murder,

Mogens Jensen, professor of psychiatry,
talks to the chief examiner.

I think it was 5:00 a.m.
or just after 5:00.

I'd just gotten up and gone into the hall
to pick up the newspaper...

I'm an early riser...
when the phone rang.

I remember being annoyed

because I'd forgotten
to turn it off for the night.

You know, otherwise patients
will call me day and night.

I ignored the phone at first,
but then I answered

because I didn't want it
to wake up my wife

who sleeps in a nearby room.

It was Peter Egermann calling.

He was completely calm

and his voice was stable.

He asked me to go
to a certain address.

He wanted me to enter through
the front door, cross the backyard

and look for a metal door
to the left of the staircase.

He said he had found a key
and would open it for me.

I was there in 20 minutes...

it was half past 5:00
or a few minutes later...

I opened the door

and went down the stairs
to the basement.

All the rooms were brightly lit

and a tape recorder was making
a terrible amount ofnoise.

In the stage room, there was a girl
lying on a table, on her belly.

She was covered
with a big brocade blanket,

her legs were spread wide apart

and her face was bloody,
swollen and stained.

For any further details,
I referyou to the autopsy report.

Peter Egermann told me
he had murdered the girl

and afterwards had
anal intercourse with her.

To be honest, I'm deeply shocked.

I've known Peter Egermann
for 20 years.

He's an amiable,
highly talented, conscientious man.

Everyone likes him,
as far as I know.

He's happily married
to a capable career woman.

He has a large circle of friends,

a comfortable, undemanding life,
a charming mother.

Cordelia Egermann, the actress?

His father died some time ago.

The family is well-off.

Peter's brother
is ambassador to Vienna.

His sister is married
to a renowned business man.

No genetic predisposition
to depression or other disorders?

As far as I know, none.

Have Peter and Katarina ever
consulted you over any complaints?

Nothing a little Valium
or Mogadon wouldn't cure.

Fourteen days before the disaster,

Peter Egermann visits Professor
Mogens Jensen in his office.

Lately, there's been a little too much
staying up late and drinking.

Apart from that, it's clear that...

the days go by.


But now I'll tell you directly
what's on my mind.

Everyone has something
that troubles them, don't you think?

My troubles are quite specific.

That's why I've come to you.

You think I'm talking too much.

You're right.

Maybe I'm hesitating
to tell you what's troubling me.

As long as I don't say the words,
my troubles are like a dream: unreal.

Once I say the words,

my troubles will manifest.

It frightens me
that I want to kill.

It frightens me
that I want to kill a person.

It frightens me.

I want to kill my wife.

I want to kill her.

For two years, I've lived with the idea
that I'll kill Katarina.

Katarina has cheated on me
and I've cheated on her.

But that has nothing to do with it.

In bed, it's fabulous.

In fact, it's fantastic.

We both love... how can I say...
without any feeling.

I mean, without thinking about
how we feel for each other.

I'm not used to describing
emotional complications.

I probably don't need to tell you this,
I think you understand.

We each love the pleasure.

Or we each love to give
the other pleasure, I don't know.

It was always best when both of us
were cheating on each other.

I use the word "cheating,"
but it's wrong.

The word has negative
moral connotations and we never...

"Mutual sexual freedom,"
you could probably call it.


I'm talking.

Now you see how helpless I am.

Psychiatrists are usually interested
in dreams. My dreams are mundane.

Meaningless, dull.

I want you to tell me that
my fantasies of Katarina's death

are a matter of hormones.

Maybe I want you to hypnotize me.

That would be a solution.

- You aren't saying anything.
- Why did you come here?

You don't believe
in your own pains.

Peter, my friend, people of your sort
don't believe in the soul's existence

that's why I don't understand your visit.

- Are you angry?
- Of course I'm angry.

Because you don't respect
your own fears.

Maybe you want to prescribe me
something, just in case.

Go for a long walk.

That's an excellent cure for minor
depressions and gloomy thoughts.

Then you'll have a strong cup
of coffee, a few cognacs

and you'll feel like a new man.

Thank you, Mogens.
You really helped me. Good-bye.

I don't want to.

Sit down.

I think I made a real effort.

How often do you say
that you hate someone

or that you wish
that another was dead?

How often do you beat,

humiliate, challenge, threaten?

You spit in each other's face,
hold down each other's arms

struggle, scream.

There's a little blood.

One is triumphant,
the other is defeated

and stands at the bathroom door
and asks to be forgiven.

- That's absolutely harmless, isn't it?
- Terribly harmless.

Everything is like a performance.

With repeated responses,
pauses, outbursts

the exits are prepared in advance,

but the lack of an audience is mortifying.

But usually,
there's a remedy for that.

- All that...
- All that is nothing.

Though a well-known part
of living with someone.

I think...

No, that's not true.

It's not true?

Isn't there some idiotic notion
that many poor lunatics

actually love their fights
and their mutual humiliations?

That it's a particularly exceptional
form of contact?

I get a punch in the nose...
"Hooray, we're touching."

Divorce, and all that...

How do you kill her?

The apartment is completely quiet

and flooded by sunlight.

For days,
we've been on our own,

maybe longer.

We haven't quarreled.

Everything is silent.

Maybe it's early in the morning.
The streets are empty.

I have a feeling ofpeace.

Everything is far away.

Work, everyday life,
voices, appointments.

No anxiety nor fear.

I can see her moving
in the bathroom...

flooded by radiant,
almost unreal sunlight.

She's combing her hair.

I've always loved watching my wife.

Even when we hated each other.

Or when she was repugnant,
ill or drunk or mean.

I've always enjoyed
her movements.

Her scent. Herpresence.

She turns to the big mirror.

She sees me in the mirror.

She is deep in thought

but breathing heavily.

I'm standing behind her,
diagonally behind her

holding the open straight razor
in my right hand.

The entire time,
she's looking at me.

And now she really sees me.

Her lips make
an almost invisible smile.

I feel her soft touch.

A small pulse is throbbing in her throat.

Are you aware that the human body
contains an amazing amount of blood?

If you cut the carotid,
the blood splashes against the walls

and you'll be covered in blood.

It smells and it's sticky.

Besides, your victim
won't die at once.

It takes several minutes
to become unconscious.

Probably, both of you
will have plenty of time to think.

Maybe you will regret it.

It isn't at all what you'd expected.

It isn't an incredible,
otherworldly experience

except for the fact that Katarina
is lying on the bath mat

with a big wound in her throat,
spilling blood.

- You're being ironic, aren't you?
- No.

If you want, I can have you
admitted to my hospital.

There, we'll give you
plenty of injections,

until you don't give a damn
whether you're Peter Egermann

or the emperor of China.

Don't worry, we're phenomenally
good at wiping out identities.

No self, no fear.

Fantastic, isn't it?

I read somewhere that modern
mental care was charmingly tough.

I told you I'm taking you seriously.

I'm taking up your time.

A little. To tell the truth,
I'm expecting somebody.

Then I won't keep you any longer.

But when you come back
next Thursday at 4:00

we can talk for a few hours.

There will be no patient waiting for me.

- You're kind.
- Yes, aren't I?

- Should I tell Katarina...
- Good-bye, Peter Egermann.

Take care.

Bye, Mogens.

And have a good time.

What do you mean?

Your visitor.

You'll see yourself out?

Of course.

Is Mrs. Egermann there?

Yes, it's important, very important.

Professor Jensen.

Yes, that's better. I'll wait.


Peter was just here.

No, he just left.

Can you come?

I'll leave the door open.


Sorry I'm late.

I had to park the car a little ways away,
so that they don't...

Then I walked here.
It got damned cold.

How are you?

Let me see.

You look quite well.

Do you have something to drink?

- How's your fashion show coming along?
- It will be fine.

- Are you coming?
- Fanny is. I can't.

I'm giving a lecture
at the medical society.

So I must stay home
and do my homework.

- Then you'll go to Tunisia.
- On Friday.

- How long will you stay?
- Six weeks.


Of course.

What a fabulous wine.

And your wife?

For the past seven years,
we've spent our holidays apart.

- Yes, you told me about it.
- Why don't you come along?

- To Tunisia?
- Why not?

And Peter?

Maybe he would find it
quite convenient.

With all your intelligence,
can't you grasp that I love my husband?

- Haven't you ever...
- Often.

Much too often.
But that's another matter.

I don't understand.

You don't need to.

It makes me curious.

I do find you attractive.

I even think we'd have
a great time in bed.

But taking a trip is something
completely different.

And now?

I didn't come here to sleep with you,
but to talk about Peter.

Besides, I have my period.

Those are two pathetic excuses.

Anyway, we can't stay here.

No, we can't.

What do you suggest?

- In there?
- Not the first time, is it?

That's subject to
doctor-patient confidentiality.

Where's the bathroom?

Here you are.

I'm sorry, but I can't.

I really do think it would be fun,
but I can't.

Because of Peter?

Yes, because of Peter.

How touching.

Why the irony?

It wasn't ironic, cross my heart.

Peter wanted to talk to me.

He claims to be haunted
by an obsessive idea.

- An obsessive idea?
- A recurring thought.

Is it serious?

Many people exaggerate the meaning
of their complaints. They get scared.

And their fears become worse
than the ideas themselves.

What kind of ideas?

Death fantasies, suicidal thoughts,
murder, acts of violence.

I still don't know exactly.
He's coming back on Thursday

maybe then we'll shed
some light on the matter.

- Is there any danger that he'll...
- It's probably not that serious.

And what can I do?

Maybe you should go on a trip for a while.

In the middle of the season.
What a crazy idea.

Besides, why should I?

If Peter really is ill,
he needs someone to take care of him.

There's a small,
but distinct possibility

that you could be harmed yourself.

What do you mean?

- You think Peter...
- Yes.

Did he say that...

He hinted at it.

That sounds like
absolute nonsense to me.

- So you can't go on a trip?
- Absolutely not. You know that.

Could you accommodate
someone at home, a guest?

Peter would never allow it.

Haven't you got two nephews?

A six-year-old and an eight-year-old
in the house, that's impossible.

- Could Peter take a trip for a while?
- He's incredibly busy.

They're heading into some
terribly difficult negotiations.

I'll give him a doctor's prescription
for a few months' leave.

That's totally unrealistic.

I can't come up with
anything better right now.

I think you're more worried
than you'll admit.

Reasonably speaking,
the risks are minimal.

Then let's stick with reason.

I don't know, Katarina.
My intuition really troubles me.

Is your intuition always right?

I think so.

I have intuition too.

And what does it say?

My intuition says you're trying...
consciously or unconsciously...

to unveil the relationship
between Peter and me.

Any reason for this?

I don't know.

Maybe you're just
that kind of person.

Now I'm surprised.

I've always been
a little afraid of you.

- But not only afraid.
- Peter is a part of me.

Don't you understand that?

I carry him with me,
wherever I go.

He's within me.

I've never felt like this
for another person.

Maybe it would be different
if we had children.

Now, we're each a child to the other.

No, that's not true.

Neither of us wants to be
prudent and mature.

That's the reason we quarrel
and fight and cry.

Neither of us wants to be grown up.

But the same blood
runs through our veins.

Our nerves have grown together
in an uncanny way.

Can you understand that?

If Peter isn't well,
the same happens to me right away.

I want to run home to Peter
and hold him tight and say


from now on, I will understand
everything you say and think...

everything you feel."

I want to hold him tight,
until he discovers me.

How can it be
that we don't see each other

though we live together
and know everything about one another?

One week after the murder,

the chief examiner talks
to Peter Egermann's mother.

I'm so helpless.

What do you want to know?

I'll be grateful
for any information at all.

Peter was a wanted child.

We were so happy.

He had a wonderful childhood.

Maybe too protected, I don't know.

He was quite timid.

He was scared of the dark.

He always wanted to have
a light on in his room.

He was scared by many things,
dogs, horses, large birds.

His siblings were much tougher.

He was more like me.

As a child,
I was also very sensitive.

I was sickly.

I suffered from asthma
and sudden allergies.

I remember that he
used to chew on his nails.

It looked quite dreadful.

He kept very close to his sister,
who was three years younger.

They played with puppets.

Puppet theater.

In school, he was a fast learner.

He always got the best grades.

He was much more gifted
than his siblings.

When he was 20,
he met a very nice girl.

They got engaged and wanted
to marry after graduation.

But then he met Katarina.

Fell terribly in love.

Katarina immediately had
a strong influence over Peter.

She made the decisions.

What Peter's parents felt or thought

didn't matter anymore.

But maybe it's supposed
to be like that.

I don't know anything.

I don't understand anything.

How could I possibly understand?

Before I married,
I was an actress.

I was devoted to my children.

My husband didn't want me
to keep working

and I never regretted it.

I've had a good and happy life.

A few days ago, Peter came round,
but he didn't stay long.

He'd had a list drawn up of things
that needed mending in the house.

We went through it together

and he was supposed to speak with
the architect and the construction firm.

It's a dilapidated old building,
and the grounds are untended.

In one wing,
the roof is so poorly insulated

that moisture comes in
when the snow melts.

We talked about all this.

We were both in a hurry.

I was expecting guests for dinner
and Peter had to go to a meeting.

I didn't notice anything unusual.

Peter just said he was tired,
because he'd had a cold.

Katarina was in Paris
and hoped to be back by midweek.

We were laughing about the repairs
and the architect's report.

It was very funny.

Peter said I was living in a real dump.

But I love my old house

and will never move out.

Five days before the disaster,

Katarina and Peter Egermann
have a sleepless night.

If you'd like to turn on the light
and read, I don't mind.

I'll sleep anyway.

I think I'll get up for a while.

Do you want me
to warm up some milk?

No, thanks.

Should we turn on the heat?

Not for me.

How is your cold?

My throat doesn't hurt anymore.


I can't sleep either.

It's probably due to
the change in the weather,

or the full moon,

or that gross food Oskar
insisted on preparing himself.

- What are you drinking?
- Cognac.

I'll have something, too.

Your disgusting liqueur
is there on your left.

Liqueur, at 3:00 in the morning?

Just give me a little whiskey
and I'm all set.

It's calming as well as healthy.

You shouldn't drink so much.

I drink as much as I want, my dear.

Besides, I never lose my self-control.

Are you aware that you were
pretty obnoxious last night?

I'm perfectly aware of that.

You had too much to drink
and became obnoxious.

I did it on purpose.

Is that so? On purpose?

I like to embarrass Martin.

You certainly accomplished that.

He likes to grope me secretly.

That's why I get drunk
and grope him... openly.

It's a clever form of revenge,
you know, my little Peter?

You get loud and talk nonsense.
That can't be on purpose.

Only you think I get loud
and talk nonsense.

All the others think
that I'm incredibly nice.

- To hell with those dinners.
- Next week, we have five.

- You actually seem to like them.
- You like them, too.

Not anymore.

Tomorrow, we'll have dinner
at your mother's.

- It's important.
- For you, not for me.

It's a business occasion.

I don't have time.

Katarina, you promised.

Your business partners
actually think it's an honor

if your hideous old mother
serves them muck...

in her old dump...
it's unbelievable.

My mother is a relic.

Your mother is a decrepit relic
of your father's reign of terror.


Katarina is off to bed.

You know I have to get up
at a quarter to 7:00.

I'll sleep in the study.

Don't you have tennis
tomorrow morning?

Harry has arm aches.

He smokes too much.

The arm aches don't come from smoking.

If you smoke 60 to 70
cigarettes a day

your circulation and muscles
are bound to suffer.

- Of course, the circulation will suffer.
- That goes without saying.

It goes without saying
that it goes without saying.

So you don't want me
to wake you before I leave?

- When do you leave?
- Just before 8:00.

Then wake me just before 8:00.

Good night, my darling.

Good night, my dear.



Can't you tell me
why you're so unhappy?

I'm neither unhappy nor happy.


- Are you worried?
- On the contrary.

Business is excellent,
if that's what you mean.

No, that's not what I meant.

All paths are barred...

if you know what I mean.


Never mind.

You must give me an example.

- Weariness.
- Weariness?

I don't even know what that is.

One of the typical components
of weariness...

is to feel an invincible
weariness to explain it...

when asked where
weariness comes from.

I'm going to tell you something
I didn't want to tell you.

It's nothing special.

Only a feeling.


It was yesterday,
early in the morning.

I was in the bathroom
taking a shower.

I dried my skin with a towel
that was freshly washed and firm

and smelled good.

Suddenly, I had an insight,
if that's what you can call it.

I looked at all the familiar things
around me and knew

that they would no longer belong to me.

That all would be taken away from me.

Nothing that I saw around me
would be mine anymore.

A minute later,
I'd forgotten all about it.

But yesterday evening,
it came back, several times.

I'm tired, Katarina.

Do you think you can sleep now?

I took another sleeping pill.

Come. Let's go back to bed.

- What time is it?
- Almost 4:00.

Now you can hear the freight trucks
on the freeway.

We've got two alternatives. First,
we could bear the investment costs

with the license fee rising
according to current interest rates

and taking into account
a decent amortization.

Or the opposing party bears
the investment costs on their own.

The first alternative
seems to be preferable.

New paragraph.

We agreed on an amortization period
of seven years.

That's a long time.

But since the reward for our service
includes all necessary repairs...

dash... during which we can replace,
bit by bit, all worn out parts...


it is nevertheless to our advantage.

New paragraph.

So, new paragraph.

Given the choice between a fixed
amount per institution and year,

or a license fee based on production
volume with a guaranteed minimum,

the first alternative was preferred.

Obviously, they're afraid that we...

if we found out the exact production
numbers during an accounting review...

No, write: when we find out...

that we either let some information slip
or use it for ourselves

should we establish ourselves one day
in the countries in question.

The only problem was that
a completely new question emerged.

I protested, since I thought
it was being asked rather late,

but they are right in the matter

and it will be difficult
to reject their claims.

New paragraph. They said that since
they had chosen alternative one

for the calculation of the license fee,

the license fee will have paid for
the equipment after seven years.

The first extension of the contract means
a period of seven and a half years,

the second extension, 10 years.

Since the equipment,
which still remains our property,

is amortized after seven years

they feel that the license fee
should be reduced afterwards.

New paragraph. In the long run,
they are right, of course.

But that means we have to tell them
right now what the equipment costs.

Since we supposed they'd choose the
first alternative when calculating the fee

we set the costs very high.

If the costs are to be deducted from
the license fee after seven years,

that will mean that our revenues
will be smaller than expected.

Please copy this for all board members,
for the records

for you and me and for the main file.

That will be all, Mrs. Anders.

Would you like a cup of coffee,
Mr. Egermann?

No, thanks.

Could I leave at 5:00 tomorrow?
I need to go to the dentist.

Of course.

Are you all right?

I'm fine, thanks.

Your mother called.
I told her you were in a meeting.


She wanted me to remind you
of your appointment.


Four days before the disaster, Katarina
Egermann prepares her fashion show.

It must be like this, not like that.
Can you change this by tomorrow?

No trouble at all, Katarina.
Did you talk to Milan?

Yes, Ariadner called this afternoon.

- Did you talk to Paul?
- I talked to him 10 minutes ago.

He's been in airport customs
since 8:00 in the morning.

No one has seen our sewing machine.
No one knows anything.

In any case,
we won't send any money.

My God, is it already time?

Did you have to wait?

It's absolute chaos here.

A fourth of the collection hasn't arrived.
Can you imagine?

Do you want to go?

We have a stupid dinner
with Peter's mother. We're terribly late.

As soon as I can leave,
I'll come back. Take care, my dear.


I need a drink.

- We're late anyway.
- I need a drink!

You'll have something
when we get there.

I need something strong to deal
with your mother and those people.

Please be kind, Peter, my darling.

We'll go to the bar,
it only takes a few minutes.

Can I get another one, dear Jack?

- Now you're incredibly annoyed.
- Now I'm incredibly annoyed.

That makes you more handsome.
Your eyes get dark. Your cheeks blush.

- I like you when...
- I'm tired!

You were the one
who accepted the invitation.

I asked you first.

You asked me after
you'd already accepted it.

You know as well as I do
that it's an important dinner.

You can get as annoyed as you want,
but I need another drink.


Okay. I'll leave you alone
and tell Mama you can't find the time.

An excellent idea!

- Anything else, Mrs. Egermann?
- No, thanks.

Didn't you accompany Peter
to his mother's dinner?


- How's it going upstairs?
- Everything is under control.

We're taking a break until 4:00.
I hope you don't mind?

I don't mind.

- Have you had anything to eat?
- I don't think so.

I've got an excellent idea.

You'll come to my place
for a few hours.

You'll take a nice bath,
while I prepare us a lovely salad.

- I'm quite comfortable sitting here.
- Come, Katarina.

You need to get out of here for a while.

- I feel guilty.
- Because of Peter?

Can you imagine anything
as stupid as that?

Come now, Katarina.

Martin was really a fine person.

We were very attached to each other.

But, as you know,

there is no such thing
as faithfulness,

no real faithfulness.

If you're gay, you're unfaithful.

It's because of the children.

I mean, because of the sad fact
that we can't have children

and aren't allowed to adopt.

Peter and I are also childless.

I've always liked children.

I think I'd make
a fairly good mother.

- Don't you think so?
- Yes.

Martin fell madly in love
with a schoolboy.

The parents of the boy
were desperate.

It nearly became a scandal.


Of course I felt abandoned

and I went into mourning.

Then I got this flat,
as a consolation.

Martin would come by often.

He used to sit in the chair
you're sitting in now.

Sometimes he cried.

It was hard.

Those were hard times.

That boy was a real devil,
I tell you.

But the flat is pretty.

It really is.

Very pretty.

It's nice to be with you.

How many years
have we known each other?

Fifteen years, Tim.

God, Katarina.

We've known each other
for 15 years.

And for 12 years,
we've been working together.

Are you sad?

Do I seem to be?

You're always so friendly

and hard working

and self-controlled.

It suddenly occurred to me
that you're incredibly sad.

I'm sorry, Katarina.
I didn't mean to embarrass you.

- Maybe I feel like crying.
- Do cry, if you feel like it.

It wouldn't embarrass me at all.

On the contrary,
I'd consider it an act of faith.

Most gays like women.

Not because we're
particularly feminine.


But because we're more
in touch with our feelings.

I don't know.
I didn't come up with that.

Martin said it,
but it can be true nonetheless.

It's an infinite sadness,
you know, Tim. I've never...

Or maybe it's not sadness,
but some kind of frenzy.

People like me have never
concerned ourselves with the soul.

Then suddenly, the soul starts to scream,
and you don't know what to do.

- Do you understand what I mean?
- I understand.

Maybe first there'll be tears.

A crying, that gets stranger
and stranger as it comes out.

It changes to a terrible wailing
of sadness and hopelessness.

Then it turns into blind screaming.

Screaming and screaming.

Maybe you have to break down
every once in a while.

It happened several times
to me in my life.

I don't know whether
I regret my breakdowns.

I don't think so.

Mostly love was to blame.

I'm pathologically dependent
on being close to somebody.

But where do you find that?

And when I say "close,"

I mean it.

It's always the same sad story.

Sometimes the body gets in the way,
sometimes the soul.

You scrape by on hopes
and delusions and compromises.

God, have I become a theorist.

I've got a present for you.

- A present?
- Wait just a moment.

Here you go.

- But my dearest Katarina!
- I wanted to give it to Peter

but he was foolish,
so he won't get it.

- Really nice.
- I bought it in Milan.

I think it will suit you.

You sometimes wear that color.


Does it make me look older?

You don't want to get older,
do you?

Wrinkles don't matter.

It's all that ugliness
that tortures me.

The skin that gets dry and rough,
though I put on lotion every night.

And this deep furrow
next to the mouth.

One morning I woke up
and looked at myself in the mirror

and it was suddenly there.

I felt as if I'd suffered
a light stroke.

My neck is all right.

Around my eyes,
that's no catastrophe.

But my hands,
my hands are horrible.

I asked three doctors
what to do with my hands

how to remove these brown marks,
the veins, the wrinkles.

It looks hideous.

I look at my mouth and my hands

and I don't trust my eyes.

I'm just a child.

Or maybe I'm not a child anymore?

I don't understand matters of time.

It doesn't exist, say those
who've contemplated this problem.

That's entirely right.

I close my eyes
and feel like I'm 10 years old.

Physically, as well.

Then I open my eyes

and look in the mirror

and an old geezer
is standing there.

A childlike old geezer.

Isn't that strange?

A childlike old geezer, that's all.

No, there's something more.

What is it?

This is how you become.

I don't understand.

This is just how you become.

Being close to somebody
is just a dream.

Rudeness and disgrace.

Sometimes I must go to certain places,
if you know what I mean.

I pick up the worst guys there.
You wouldn't believe your eyes.

Pleasure and mad arousal
and terror and disgrace.

All in a wild confusion.

That's the love life of
your childlike old geezer,

not closeness and tenderness.

Someday I'll be beaten
to death, of course.

But that can also be appealing.

I'm controlled by forces I can't control.







Nothing helps.

They are secret forces.

What are they called?

I don't know.

Maybe it's aging itself.


I don't know.

Forces I can't handle.

I lean towards the mirror
and look into my face,

which is quite familiar to me.

And I notice in that combination
of blood, flesh, nerves and bones

two completely incompatible...

I don't know how to call it...

two incompatibles...

the dream of closeness,
tenderness, community,

obliviousness of all living things.

And on the other side,
violence, disgrace

terror, threat of death.

Sometimes I believe

all of this has the same origin.

I don't know.

How would I know?

Maybe my dreams
were a little too nice.

As a punishment...

Life is hardest
when you don't expect it to be.

As a punishment,
you get an orgasm

with your nose so deep in shit
that you almost suffocate.


Look at me.

Please take my hand.

Put it softly to your cheek.

Do you feel my hand?

But do you also feel that it's me?

That it's me?

Three days after the murder,
Tim talks to the chief examiner.

Could I have your full legal name?

Tim. T-I-M.

That's your artistic name,
your signature or whatever you call it.

We want to know your full legal name.

My name is Tim. I'm called Tim
everywhere in Europe and America.

As far as I can tell
from the documents,

your name is Thomas Isidor Mandelbaum.

If you already know my name,
I don't see why you're asking me.

It's just routine.
We need to ask your name

to avoid mistaking you for someone else.

Absolutely impossible.

This is not an interrogation,
but an informal conversation.

May I ask you then
to turn off the recorder.

Does it bother you?

If it didn't,
I wouldn't ask you to turn it off.

- Now it's turned off.
- Much obliged.

Would you like a cup of coffee,
a glass of wine, a cigarette?

- No, thanks.
- Maybe a glass of water or some tea?

we're not very well equipped.

Thank you,
I don't want anything.

Then may we start, Mr. Tim?


- I assure you it won't hurt.
- I'm sure it won't.

I asked you to come here,
because you're a friend of the family.

I've been Katarina Egermann's
closest coworker for 10, no, 12 years.

For the last 10 years,
we've been partners.

For the first two years,
we were employees.

- You know Peter Egermann?
- Of course.

How was the relationship
between husband and wife?


Talks with Peter Egermanns's mother
gave me a different impression.

Then you've got two contradictory
impressions. Isn't that interesting?

Did you have an affair
with Peter Egermann?


You seem to hesitate?

I never had an affair
with Peter Egermann.

We never touched.

Maybe we took each other's hand
or hugged, as close friends do.

Excuse me for being so direct.

I'm used to it.

- You knew the murdered girl?
- Yes.

- How well did you know her?
- We were good friends.

How is it that you're friends
with a prostitute?

I don't know what to think
of that question, Inspector.

It's either mean, insinuating or naive.

My answer is
that I don't like that question.

It's out of place
in a confidential conversation.

I didn't mean to offend you.

I'll try to believe you.

Do you live alone?

Yes, I live alone.

So your friend would put you in touch
with others, from time to time?

It's happened.

So you brought Peter Egermann
together with Katarina Krafft

or Ka, as she was called everywhere.

You might say that.

How did that happen?

Well, it was on a Sunday, last fall.
I was at the central station.

You were going on a trip?

At the central station, there are
young men of various nationalities

who like to earn a little money
on Sunday afternoons.

Suddenly and unexpectedly,
I bumped into Peter Egermann.

He was at the international newsstand
to buy foreign newspapers.

We had a cup of coffee together.

For some reason, I told him
what I was doing at the station.

Peter seemed to be interested.

He told me that he'd never
been with a prostitute before.

I recommended Katarina Krafft to him,

gave him her address
and promised to talk to her.

That's the whole story.

That's the truth,
yet not even the half of it.

I was furious with Katarina Egermann.

In fact, I'd always been furious with her,

though I liked her at the same time.

I liked the thought of Peter
cheating on her with a prostitute.

That's also only half of the truth.

Weak people choose strange ways.

You must know that, Inspector.

It tortures me that I was the one

who brought the perpetrator
and victim together.

Please excuse me
for putting it so dramatically.

I just have a guilty conscience.

I blame my homosexuality for it.

But that's also
only half of the truth.

This is starting to get really
interesting, don't you think?

The truth is that I wanted Peter
for myself, of course.

But I didn't understand that.

I wanted to have
a shared secret with him.

I wanted to lure him
slowly away from his wife.

I saw the terrible coldness
in his marriage

and was a little obsessed
by the idea he might turn to me.

That he would finally discover me.

That he would understand

that I love him secretly.

Emotionally, Peter was a dying man.

Just like a man can die from hunger,
thirst or loss of blood.

I knew that I could save him.

And I wished that he
would come looking for me.

That he would want
to be close to me.

I don't think that I'm wrong.

People of my sort have a feeling for this.

What I've just told you
may not be the truth either.

Certain intelligent people
say we're completely blind.

That we're moving in prescribed patterns

and that we're predetermined
from birth on... or oppressed.

By the way,
it makes absolutely no difference.

Don't you agree?

Peter Egermann wrote a letter
to Professor Jensen.

(It was never sent.)

Dear Mogens,

what I am going to describe
is no dream in the common sense,

though it happened at night

under the influence of alcohol
and sleeping pills.

What I experienced seemed
more real and more terrifying

than the gray reality of my everyday life.

But that's a cliché.

You can toss it in the wastebasket.

I don't write to entertain,
but because I can't help it.

I dreamed I was sleeping.

I dreamed I was dreaming.

Everything was very sensual.

In the broader sense...
not simply erotic.

But somehow
there was a clear connection

between my nether regions

and the intense and good scent
ofa woman's wetness.



The fresh smell of thick hair.

With closed eyes, I was moving
across a glittering, expansive plain

and everything was silent.

My satisfaction was complete

and I had the strange desire
to tell a funny story.

But I couldn't speak.

That didn't trouble me at all.
On the contrary, I felt

that my floating was closely
connected to my speechlessness

and that my brain was
intensely focused on my hands,

or rather on my fingertips.

On every finger was a little eye

that registered with blinkingjoy

the glittering whiteness
and the floating.

It was good like this.

It could stay like this.

I thought...

or, more accurately,
I didn't think at all.

It just flowed through my lips
like a multi-colored ribbon.

"If you are my death,

then be welcome, my death.

If you are life,

then be welcome, my life."

I am in a closed room,
without windows or doors

but also without a roofor walls.

Maybe I'm enclosed in a sphere
or an ellipse, I don't know.

It never occurred to me
to study the shape of this space.

I dreamed

that I was waking up
from a deep sleep.

I was lying on the floor,
which was soft like a thick rug

and I felt comfortable and content.

Next to me was Katarina.

Still motionless, sleeping.

I knew at once
that this was all a dream.

I told myselfin a low voice
to have no fear.

The only danger was becoming scared

being overcome bypanic

and trying to get out

crying or screaming or
banging against the walls.

I decided to stay calm.

Katarina slowly woke up.

I tried to talk to her.

But I didn't reach her.

She pretended
she didn't notice mypresence.

She was soft.

And, in an arousing way,

I wanted to make love.

But she escaped me.
I never managed to enter her.

She looked at me through
half-closed eyes and smiled.

Senseless rage seized me
and I drew back in order not to kill her.

I almost choked with frenzy and terror.

I had to be calm, not scared.

Controlled, not erratic.

Everything had gone wrong.

There was a moment of tenderness.

Of complete calm.

It is difficult to describe
that moment.

The air changed.

It became mild
and easy to breathe.

The gray light disappeared

and was replaced
by the warm, soft dawn.

It felt like tender hands
touching our sore bodies.

We met in sudden intimacy,

without reservations.

Then the horrible,

the incomprehensible,

the irrevocable happened.

Suddenly, Katarina was dead.

And I knew that I had killed her
in some cruel, torturous way.

I woke up again
and sat up on my bed.

Below, on the freeway on-ramp,
heavy traffic had set in.

Everything was as usual.

Katarina was sleeping
at my side, quietly breathing.

Can you help me?

Is there any help?

Can I live on?

Do I live at all?

Or was that dream, as it was,
my only short moment of life?

Of truly experienced
and conquered reality?

Two days before the disaster,

Peter Egermann threatens
to commit suicide.

Sorry for calling so early.

Can I speak to Professor Jensen?

No, thanks. My apologies.

Thanks for coming.
I didn't know what to do.

Maybe you can talk to him.

He's standing outside on the roof.


It is absolutely honorable to jump.

But it's inhuman
to torture one's fellow men.

Soon someone will see you
and call the police.

Are you cold?

May I at least bring you
your fur coat?

That would be nice.

Do you have his fur coat?

I'll get it.

- Peter.
- Leave me alone.

Martha sends her regards.

Poor Martha.
We surely disturbed her.

Not at all. She had an early surgery
at the childrens' hospital.

You're pretty affected.

Come, sit here with me.

I'm fine on the floor.

We had a few drinks
at Johann and Marianne's.

They wanted to go out, so we went
to this new Italian restaurant.

You know, near the theater.

There we met Melkers and his lady.

They insisted on inviting us home.

Do you have a cigarette?


What's this on your neck?

- Her necklace broke apart.
- I see.

I got caught in it,
and it broke apart.

- Be careful it doesn't get infected.
- Nonsense.

Katarina wants to leave me,
she says.

I say: Excellent,
that would be such a blessing.

Then she says
she won't get by without me.

Then I say I'd get by better
without her than with her.

Then she says I'm impotent.

It all started with Peter
insulting me at the restaurant.

Then I say I'm only impotent
with her, and so on...

First we laughed,
because he was quite funny,

but then he was all over me

and everybody was embarrassed,
and I started to cry.

Katarina has an intuitive feel
for when to start bawling.

- Now I'll tell you why it really started.
- Ladies and gentlemen, the big aria...

Shut up, Peter.
You had your scene already.

When we came home this morning,
Peter was horny and wanted to fuck.

I was tired and thought:
I don't mind, as long as it's quick.

But Peter had in mind
a first-class spectacle.

I thought to myself, "You can manage,"
as I have in the past.

Then he wanted to fuck me from behind,
but he couldn't get his dick in.

He was probably too drunk.

And then...

Then I began to laugh,
and he was furious

and started yelling at me,
but I couldn't stop laughing.

I couldn't restrain myself.

I said I'd give him head
because he likes that.

But he grabbed my necklace
and twisted it, until I almost choked.

I can satisfy you.

I know the trick of how to screw
Katarina Egermann.

Shall I tell you how?

In the 10 years
we've been living together,

you gave me 832 orgasms.

513 times I put on an act,
went to the bathroom and helped myself.

On other occasions, I had a pathetic,
tiny convulsion, that's true.

I'm terribly grateful to you.

Peter Egermann
has made me feel like a woman.

Damned, poor Peter,
I feel sorry for you.

I really feel sorry for you.

You're now listening to the single
of Katarina's perverted loyalty.

Shouldn't we entertain our friend
with one of our other hits?

At least your mouth is working.

It's like he's afraid of being silent.

When you're silent,
you hear the truth.

That is, you hear Katarina's truth.
I don't have any.

Katarina has a lifelong contract with
the objective, real truth of the world.

Partly it's because she's a woman

and as such is entitled
to a certain blood and soil insight.

Partly it's because she's Katarina,

chosen and created by God
in a lucky moment.

I think I need to lay down for a while.

When are we supposed to meet Bauer?

At 10:00.
You can sleep for at least an hour.

Take a hot shower afterwards.
That will revive your spirits.

- Do you want me to help you?
- Thank you, very kind, Katarina.

I'll get by on my own.

Thanks for coming, dear Anton.

You're a true friend.

When I see you and Katarina together,

I realize what a nice couple you'd make.

As Christ said on the cross:

"Mother, see your son.

Son, see your mother."

I behaved like a hysterical bitch.

What are you thinking?

I'm thinking that you're playing
the record with the refrain:

"It was all my fault.
Forgive me, my love."

Whoever puts on that record first
gets to be the best person.

But if I really think I behaved
like a bitch, shouldn't I say so?


- What do you want me to do then?
- Nothing.

As you wish.


I don't mind you lying here,
as long as you keep your mouth shut.

- Peter!
- Stop that!

It will get you nowhere.

Can't we talk?


Can't we even try?

We've tried it hundreds
of thousands of times.

At the next conflict,
we'll use what we've said as weapons.

Remember the beginning
of our marriage, how we tried?

We had capital then.

Capital in love, if you will.

We've squandered it all and didn't get
anything new. You know why?

We accepted the rules of the game
without any talent for playing it.

Then we were cheated.

Do you know what frightens me most?

When I can't go to work,

can't read my newspaper,

can't eat regularly.

Finding no sleep.

Being constipated.
The car breaking down.

Getting sick.
Having a toothache.

I know that any disorder threatens
my carefully thought-out security system.

If it were like that,
you wouldn't drink.

I drink to work up the courage
to throw my system out of order.

What do you gain by doing that?

I blow myself up.

And what remains?

A kind of ground meat,
from blood and nerves.

And you think that's better?

It makes me resemble more closely
the reality that surrounds me.

Three weeks after the disaster,
Katarina Egermann visits Peter's mother.

I sit here all alone in this big house.

I don't want to see anyone.

I don't even want to go out.

You should take a trip
for a few months.

My sister called
and asked me to visit her in Paris.

I really think you should go.


But what if Peter wants me to visit him?

Have you seen him?


I can't. Not yet.

I visited him yesterday.

Did you?

He seems out of place there.

Do you think he's suffering?

Professor Jensen says the injections
keep the pain away.

- He's absolutely calm.
- I'd like a shot to escape this hell.

It's hell.

All day, I walk around, all alone.

I put on my coat
to go for a walk in the park,

but I can't go out.

I don't know what to do with myself.

I'm thinking about seeing a doctor,
but I've only got old Jakobi.

He's starting to get senile.

I can ask Professor Jensen
to get in touch with you.

Maybe that would be good.

I'll call him tomorrow.

I'm so lonely, Katarina.

If you like,
I'll come see you every day.

- You've got enough to worry about.
- Everyone does.

"It is her fault."
That's what you think.

You always regarded my relationship
with Peter with a critical eye.

You always regarded our marriage
with a critical eye.

But I am his mother, Katarina.

I'm closer to him than anyone else.

I gave birth to him and raised him.

He's a part of my life.

You don't have children, Katarina.

You can't understand
the feelings of a mother.

The responsibility.

The guilt.

The shame.

You're certainly right.
I don't understand anything.

Forgive me, Katarina.
I didn't mean to hurt you.

You don't hurt me.

I pity you.

I don't think you mean
what you're saying.

I've been here for half an hour.

The whole time,
you've talked about your feelings.

Your problems. Your guilt. Your shame.

Forgive me, Katarina. I thought
you wanted us to talk to each other.

I thought we could talk about
our feelings, together.

- I don't know what I expected.
- I've also thought about you, Katarina.

Every hour of the day,
I think about you.

I'm also lonely.


I look back on our life with amazement.

I look back to our former reality
and think we were dreaming

or acting, or whatever we did.

This is the true reality,
and it's unbearable.

I talk, answer, think,
dress, sleep and eat.

It's a daily constraint,
a strange, hard surface.

But beneath that surface,
I'm crying all the time.

I cry for myself,

because I can't be as I was before.

All that was cannot come back.
It's lost, it's gone.

Like a dream.

And I cry for Peter.

I could never empathize
with another's feelings or thoughts.

Suddenly, I seem to understand
how Peter feels and thinks.

I see that he's vulnerable

and scared and alone,

completely alone.

He's turned away
and will never come back to us,

no matter how much we call him.

But the worst,

the most terrible thing
that I can hardly talk about

is that poor woman.

I tell myself that maybe she
was only scared for a short moment.

That she didn't realize
what was happening to her.

It doesn't help.

Doesn't help.

Fifty minutes before the disaster,

Peter Egermann visits
the prostitute Katarina Krafft.

Good evening.

Good evening.

Closing time!

That's it for today!

Wrap it up!

Closing time!

That's it for today!



- She's willing to stay until 6:00.
- Thanks.

- Strictly speaking, it's forbidden.
- I know.

- Because of the fire insurance.
- Thank you very much.

Don't forget,
you have to be gone by 6:00.

The police often come in the morning.

The pigs, as the neighbors say.

You'll get laid in here.

If the police touch you,
it's called a routine check.

Come in. I'm almost ready.

Would you like some wine?

I prefer you with makeup.

As you wish.

- If it's not too much trouble.
- No, not at all.

As long as I don't have
to wear these false lashes.

Of course not.

Bad air in here, don't you think?

It's all right.

They forgot about ventilation
when they converted these rooms.

We don't have windows either.

To let some air in, we have to
open the door to the basement.

Which isn't good either,
because it attracts strange visitors.

Don't you want to take off your coat?

Excuse me,
I forgot my newspaper.

I bought it this morning,
and it's already so late.

- Don't forget: 6:00!
- Okay.

Did you like my number?

Not particularly.

- Have you been working here long?
- Three years.

I came here
when it was still brand-new.

- Is it worth it?
- I can't complain.

Is there more wine?

The bottle is on the shelf,
next to the fridge.

You're kind of odd.

Something about you is odd.

Did you do something bad?

I don't think so.

One of the girls wanted to stay here
and keep an eye on things.

Maybe it was stupid of me
to send her away.

Don't worry.

But there is something.

Yes, there is something.

Are you scared somehow?

You're a good judge of character.

Now you're being ironic.

I'm always ironic.

It's a sort of disability.


It's pretty uncomfortable in here.

Don't you think so?
We could go into one of the other rooms.

All right.

Come in.

Is this your room?

I receive my customers here.

It's terribly warm.
Can't we open a window?

There are no windows.

- I can't stand it in here.
- All right. We'll go to the stage.

There's more room.
And it's really quite nice there.

Come on.

- What's your name?
- Ka.

But my real name is Katarina.

You've got the same name
as my wife.

Well, that's funny.

Do you want to tell me something?

You got me wrong earlier on.

I only found your number
stupid and boring.

As for you,
I find you attractive.


Sit down on that chair.
I want to look at you.

Like this?

It's better if you stand up.

Better now?

Look at me.


Don't other men ask you
for much more unpleasant things?

This is worse.

All paths are barred.

Do you want to go?

All paths are barred.

Why are you saying
such strange things?


I told you that we have to keep
all the doors locked.

You'll have to stay.

Do you want me
to make you some coffee?

The light is too bright.
Can't we turn it off?

We've already complained.
But no one listens to us.

- What's this smell?
- Does it smell?

Yes, it smells like something.

Here, it always smells like something.
Dust, sweat, perfume, cigarettes.

And when the john is clogged,
it smells like shit.

Does it smell like something else?

I don't know,
maybe it's just my imagination.

I think I've lost my sense of smell.

I don't sense anything.

When I was a child, my mother used
to take me to her parents' in Denmark.

I still remember how
the seasons smelled there.

The seasons?



Winter smelled like snow,
coal furnaces and wet gloves.

And summer smelled like
seaweed and anthills.

Spring smelled like meltwater
and deeply dug trenches,

freshly sprung catkins and rain.

But fall was the most beautiful.

I'm not sleeping.

Can't you just take off that stupid coat?

It's quite warm in here, isn't it?

It is.

I'm tired.

After four weeks, late at night,

Mogens Jensen, professor of psychiatry,
dictates a preliminary summary.

As for our patient,
a dominant mother

and poor contact with the father
resulted in latent homosexuality

that Peter Egermann himself
was hardly aware of,

but which of course interfered
with his relationship to his wife

and other women.

This fact

and an aggressiveness towards his
dominant mother, transformed into fear,

didn't find a natural outlet in
Peter Egermann's social environment.

where every kind of emotional outburst

is considered almost obscene.

For that reason, early on, the patient
became estranged from his emotional life.

Instead of being himself,
he adopted attitudes

and played the role that education
and environment had assigned to him.

Excuse me, Professor.
I didn't know you were still here.

I'm just returning some case histories.

I need a few more minutes.
Good night.


A strongly developed sense of duty

in connection with self-discipline,
practiced from childhood on,

and considerable social success

prevented the patient from naturally
acting out his emotions in any way.

Obviously, he was also very attached
to his wife, who, like his mother,

has a possessive
and strong-willed personality.

The inexplicable fear
and the fear of that fear

were ritualized
into a closed social model

where a certain consumption
of narcotics and alcohol

is not only an accepted,
but recommended emergency exit.

I dare say that nothing
would have happened

if Peter Egermann
had stayed in his milieu.

The disaster starts the moment
he comes into contact with the prostitute.

Suddenly, everything is possible.

The triggering impulse
might have been something trivial,

a word, a gesture, a tone of voice.

The girl is murdered
in a moment ofemotional blackout.

And in a presumably ecstatic moment,

Peter Egermann performs sexual
intercourse with the dead woman.

His emotions break free
like an avalanche.

Only someone you've killed
can be possessed,

or rather controlled fully.

The patient has broken through
all social and emotional barriers

and is therefore at risk ofsuicide

according to the same norm
I have just formulated.

Only someone who kills himself
possesses himself completely.


Directly aftergetting up

after having breakfast
and making the bed...

he rises earlier than anyone else...

he sits down at his chess game.

He sets the computer
on a high difficulty level

and sometimes the match
takes several days.

Towards the staff,
he is verypolite,

but also very distant.

He takes great care
with his personal hygiene

and cleans his room at least once a day.

He's particularly meticulous
with his bedspread.

It takes him a quarter-hour to get it
as even and tidy as he wants it to be.

He doesn't read
any books or newspapers.

He doesn't listen to the radio
and doesn't watch television.

From time to time,
he suffers from severe anxiety

but refuses any help

and rejects our efforts
to get in touch with him.

At night, he has a worn-out,
old teddy bear next to him.

Probably a childhood memory.