Kafka is a 1991 French-American mystery thriller film directed by Steven Soderbergh. Ostensibly a biopic, based on the life of Franz Kafka, the film blurs the lines between fact and Kafka's fiction (most notably The Castle and The Trial), creating a Kafkaesque atmosphere. It was written by Lem Dobbs, and stars Jeremy Irons in the title role, with Theresa Russell, Ian Holm, Jeroen Krabbé, Joel Grey, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and Alec Guinness.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven Soderbergh|
|Produced by||Harry Benn|
|Written by||Lem Dobbs|
|Music by||Cliff Martinez|
|Edited by||Steven Soderbergh|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Box office||$1.1 million|
Released after Soderbergh's critically acclaimed debut Sex, Lies, and Videotape it was the first of what would be a series of low-budget box-office disappointments. It has since become a cult film, being compared to Terry Gilliam's Brazil and David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch.
Set in the city of Prague in 1919, Kafka tells the tale of an insurance clerk who gets involved with an underground group after one of his co-workers is murdered. The underground group, responsible for bombings all over town, attempts to thwart a secret organization that controls the major events in society. He eventually penetrates the secret organization in order to confront them.
- Jeremy Irons as Mr. Kafka
- Theresa Russell as Gabriela
- Joel Grey as Mr. Burgel
- Ian Holm as Doctor Murnau
- Jeroen Krabbé as Mr. Bizzlebek
- Armin Mueller-Stahl as Inspector Grubach
- Alec Guinness as Chief clerk
- Brian Glover as Castle henchman
- Keith Allen as Assistant Ludwig
- Simon McBurney as Assistant Oscar
- Robert Flemyng as Keeper of the Files
- Ion Caramitru as Solemn anarchist
- Josef Abrhám as Friend of Kafka
- Guy Fithen as Friend of Kafka
- Ondrej Havelka as Friend of Kafka
- Jerome Flynn as Castle attendant
- Ewan Stewart as Castle attendant
- Jim McPhee as Castle attendant
- Petr Jákl as Quarry labourer
- David Jensen as Laughing man
Kafka was met with mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film presently holds a rating of 52% based on 23 reviews.
In a 2013 interview with Vulture, Soderbergh stated that the rights to the film had reverted to him and executive producer Paul Rassam, and that work had begun on a "completely different" version of the movie. Soderbergh reported that he and Lem Dobbs did some rewriting, inserts were shot during the making of Side Effects, and he plans to dub the film into German and release both the original and new version together.
- "Kafka". Film Notes.
- Schilling, Mary Kaye (27 January 2013). "Steven Soderbergh on Quitting Hollywood, Getting the Best Out of J-Lo, and His Love of Girls". Vulture. Retrieved 2014-03-05.