Remembering Franz Kafka and his brilliance through 3 must-watch filmstext_fields
June 3rd- this day marks Franz Kafka's 97th death anniversary. Peeping through his works and movie adaptations we would find both have the brilliance of their own. After he died in 1924, his friend and editor Max Brod brought his works to light which were once instructed by Kafka to be destroyed after his death. And some directors adapted his works with extra brilliance in their films.
Kafka's books are not for casual readers. So are the films made on them. Let's check 3 must-watch films on that list.
1. The Trial
Kafka's novel 'The Trial', written during 1914-1915 and published in 1925 after his death, is a gripping work of fiction. The story revolves around Josef K, a young man who finds himself under arrest and then goes to find the reason behind it.
It was in 1963 that the Orson Welles' adaptation of 'The Trial' hit the theatres. Welles' films always have an artistic appeal. He has worked in theatre and radio, which can be why both visual and sound were at its best in the film. The Trial shows his unique stylistic vision. It is a well-made film as some critics say, it is more Welles' than Kafka. The movie wasn't a commercial hit, but it's his most personal work in many ways.
Anthony Perkins played the central character, Josef K. Perkins as Josef K is one of the best performances of his career. Kafka's prophetic work shows the contemporary world where man a faceless being, is unable to assert his individuality. It also shows the tyranny of the social system upon man. It gives a trapped feeling as you watch it. And we are in a condition where we begin to think how crazy the entire situation is. The film also shows how frustrating and absurd the legal process can be.
Again in 1993, The Trial novel had one more adaptation. Kyle MacLachlan has done the lead Josef K. Produced by BBC, this movie cast includes 2021 Oscar Award-winning legendary actor Anthony Hopkins. The film was shot in Prague where Kafka was born.
These two movies are must-watch not only for Kafka readers but also for Classic cinema lovers.
2. The Castle
Among Franz Kafka's literary works, more adaptations are made for his unfinished novel 'The Castle.' In the novel, protagonist K arrives in a village and struggles to gain access to the mysterious authorities who govern it from a castle supposedly owned by Count Westwest. The Castle and The Trial were included in the list of the 10 best German novels of the Twentieth century.
The Castle was adapted three times in 1964, 1994 and 1997. The 1964 German film won many awards and was selected as West Germany's official entry to the Oscars that year. 1997 Austrian film directed by Michael Haneke premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.
3. It's a wonderful life
The 1993 film Franz Kafka's 'It's a Wonderful Life is a short fantasy movie of 23 minutes, written and directed by Peter Capaldi. In 1994 it won the BAFTA award for the best short film. And in the following year, it won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.
This avant-garde/experimental short film looks at the notion of the tortured artist. The movie shows Kafka, struggling to come up with an opening line for his most famous work 'The Metamorphosis'. The famous introductory lines-
"As Gregor Samsa awoke one
Morning from uneasy dreams
He found himself transformed
In his bed into a gigantic insect".
The main character is played by Richard E. Grant. His performance is a treat to watch. The character is in writer's block to get the introductory lines of his novel. He doesn't know what Gregor is about to be transformed. Because of the distractions around him, he is in utter confusion. His mind is in chaos. Though this can be represented in letters it is not easy to make it visually within a short period. For that this film needs appreciation. If u get to see it, don't miss this award-winning short.
Like 2002 Iranian film K based on three short stories of Kafka, 21-minute Japanese animated short films based on 'A country Doctor', many other literary works of Kafka is inspiring world cinema.
In the art film circle, these films are well appreciated both for their visual presentation and the story. Many more adaptations are yet to be made as Kafka's world - what we call 'Kafkaesque' - is our own world that we live...