DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Marionette (Marioneta)

Mexican thespian uses his dramatic skills in order to help fake beggars to extort people on the streets of Mexico City, in this very unusual tribute to the art of acting - from the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival


The young and handsome Ernesto (Rafael Ernesto Hernandez) is a Cuban actor seeking work in Mexico City. He is very famous back home, he claims. However, he is unable to find a job and start a new career in this highly competitive city of 22 million inhabitants, mostly due to his distinctive talk. He needs to put up a Mexican accent in order to impress his auditioners and land a much-desired prominent role.

Ernesto comes across the same beggar twice while travelling on a metro train. The also young and beautiful woman (Fatima Molina) tells commuters that she suffered a major accident, which left her unable to work, prompting them to spare significant amounts of change. She dons a scar and crutches. Ernesto notices, however, that her performance is inconsistent: the first time she pretended that her leg was hurt, while the second time it was her arm that she couldn’t move. He challenges the elusive stranger, only to be kidnapped by two gangsters who were watching over the female.

He soon finds out that the woman is called Belen and she works for a greedy capo called David Torrico. His criminal labour consists of training professional beggars. A group of perfectly healthy people are taught how to look ill and vulnerable. And this is where Ernesto’s skills come in handy. He quickly becomes a very effective teacher, adored by his very unusual pupils. The lessons consist of various clever ruses, from the perfect facial expression to embracing the sick character in full splendour.

Belen and Erenesto predictably develop a romantic connection, but their relationship is as toxic and dangerous as the criminal trade of David Torrico. Plus, Belen and her boss have some dirty secrets in store, and they could compromise Ernesto’s integrity. Ernesto suspects that there’s something rotten after a young woman – one of the con artists – is run over by a car. He believes that David murdered her because she was disloyal to the group.

All in all, Marionette is a tribute to the art of acting. It’s an interesting premise, with plenty of flamboyant and peculiar characters. But it also feels a somewhat unnatural and contrived. The acting classes lack vigour and wit. They come across as too puerile. The romance isn’t entirely convincing, either. There’s very little spark. It is a film that purports to play with language and format, but ultimately falls the the traps it set out to avoid. It’s simply trite and formulaic.

Marionette is showing in Competition at the 23rd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. DMovies have been invited to the event as special guests.

By Victor Fraga - 21-11-2019

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years of involvement in the cinema industry and beyond. He is an LGBT writer, and describes himself as a di...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

Movies and games: a dirty relationship


Tania Dickson - 25-07-2024

Sonia Dickson looks at the history of games in past 25 years, and reveals a profound and mutually beneficial connection with cinema [Read More...]

Hungry for food, family and friendship?


Paola Christensen - 25-07-2024

Ten years later: Paola Christensen discusses what Jon Favreau's Chef says about food, family and friendship in the present day [Read More...]

Our dirty questions to Ziad and Christine


Victoria Luxford - 24-07-2024

Victoria Luzford interviews Ziad H. Hamzeh and Christine Handy, the director and original writer/ exec producer of Hello Beautiful, an emotionally compelling drama about successful model, her mother, and a life-changing diagnosis [Read More...]