In the movie Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, Marlina is a grieving woman, hard at work all year long to save enough money for the traditional Sumba burial of her late husband; who now sits as a mummy in the living room. Markus knocks on her door and informs her that his gang intends to rob her in half an hour; a promise well kept. Marlina poisons the robbers and seduces Markus. During sex, she beheads him and starts a journey with Markus’ bloodied head inside a plastic bag. When the next house in West Sumba is ten to twenty kilometers away, the journey is more metaphorical than real. Marlina fights from kitchen to bedroom to bus, encounters a musical opus and the birth of a child, and finally, behind bars, finds peace.
After losing leader Markus, Franz – always Markus’ favorite, but with a small build and a high voice – takes the lead on a path of revenge; as Marlina uses their own culture and beliefs against the robbers. Franz wants Markus’ head back so that they can bury the corpse intact, a belief that the people of Sumba hold dear and greatly fear. Marlina finally gives herself up to the police and finds peace and redemption behind bars; where she is free from the grief of her guilt, in the form of a headless Markus who has been following her all along, each and every step of the way.
Check out photos from Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts: