Marionette (2020) is a thriller with a mystical atmosphere from director Elbert van Strier. The film was released in September 2020. Initially, the film was being prepared for the Cannes Film Festival, but the festival was canceled due to the pandemic.
The plot of the movie Marionette
In the first episode, we see an agitated man running to the roof of a psychiatric clinic. He talks to himself, referring to someone invisible who is “in control”. A man douses himself in gasoline and lights a match, trying to prove that he owns his own destiny. He calms down and already wants to go down from the roof, but due to a gust of wind, the match accidentally falls out of his hands, turning the man into a living torch.
Next, the viewer meets Marian, an American child psychotherapist who moves to Scotland after her husband’s death. In one of the flashbacks, where Marian talks to her beloved about Nietzsche’s “eternal return”, we learn that a woman seeks to polish the details of her life and control everything.
Scotland welcomes the doctor with gothic gloominess and rainy weather. The clinic also does not cause positive emotions – it is more like a dungeon. Dr. Winter (surname of an American) immediately begins work. Her patients are children, closed in on themselves. Marian is immediately interested in the boy Emmanuel (Manny), who, according to him, “causes events.” The woman does not believe her patient, but the boy now and then draws various disasters, and the worst begins when his drawings begin to come true: for example, the doctor on the way home sees a terrible accident drawn by Manny.
Trying to make sense of everything, Marion brings up her predecessor’s notes. In one of the notebooks, an ominous phrase was written: “what he draws is reality.” The atmosphere heats up when Dr. Winter discovers a gun in the locked drawer of his desk – Manny told her about it.
Because of voices and terrible events, a mystical boy who considers himself God, Marion begins to go crazy. After learning that Manny called her to this city and created events in her life, Winter forcibly wants to change everything back. She kidnaps the boy, and when he refuses to help her, she kills him and herself.
Waking up in the morning, Marion finds that everything has fallen into place: her husband is alive, and she is back in America. However, the dream haunts her: she calls Kieren at the number she dreamed about, and the man picks up the phone. It turns out that the clinic and the people from her dream are absolutely real.
The meaning of the film
Elbert van Strier asks the viewer the question, “What is reality?” The world of the film consists of several significant layers-perceptions of the world: religious, physical and irrational (almost crazy).
Religion in the film is given in the key of creating the world and giving a person freedom of choice. With imperceptible strokes, the director pushes the viewer to two opposite conclusions: Emmanuel (in Hebrew, “God is with us”) is the creator, the god of this reality. At the same time, the thought suggests itself about the devilish essence of the boy: in the investigation, the heroine comes across the book “On the Problem of the Devil”, and the name Manny is consonant with English. many (many = legion). Religion for the main character only confuses the traces.
The physics in the film also fails to answer the questions of reality and choice: Marion reads the Quantum Mind books, tries to understand the theories of multiple realities, but finds only uncertainty. The best personification of the physical layer in the film is Schrödinger’s cat: a cat closed in a steel box, without an observer, can be both dead and alive.
Another interesting image related to physics is the weather. One of the patients, Karina, whose name translates as “the keel of the ship” or “looking ahead”, constantly says this word. Marion breaks it into three: we eat her (we will eat it) – we are talking about Cyren’s boat, which crashes due to a hurricane, and the guy drowns. Mind games speak of the artificiality of the world surrounding Dr. Winter.
Uncertainty drives the main character crazy, because she wanted to find support in something real. She succumbs to madness and kills Manny – the creator of this world, and when this does not work, she falls into the other extreme: she begins to fanatically believe in him.
The meaning of the ending
At the end of the film, Marion is sent to a hospital with white marble walls and a flowering garden associated with paradise. She continues to be Manny. However, now Dr. Winter understood everything: after the terrible events that happened to his parents, Manny withdrew into himself and created a world where he could control everything. She and everyone around her are just puppets in the boy’s hands (this conjecture is also hinted at by the name of the heroine Marion, consonant with a puppet). However, unlike everyone else, Emmanuel needs Dr. Winter to heal himself. At the end of the film, she, like a voice in the boy’s head, helps him to establish contact with his foster mother and finds peace in his soul.
Thus, we have before us a multi-layered intellectual film that raises a complex but urgent problem of reality. After all, it is not known for certain whether we exist or are fictional impressionable children.