Is there too much Kafka in the world? No! Non! Nein! And now this 1997 TV movie interpretation from Austria is available for worldwide consumption. Lookin' good, I tell ya.
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By Ben Nicholson •
THE CASTLE (TV MOVIE)
Arte / Artificial Eye
Original airdate: October 1998
DVD Release: November 12th, 2012
Running time: 123 minutes
Country of origin: Austria
Original language: German with English subtitles
Director: Michael Haneke
Writers Michael Haneke (screenplay), Franz Kafka (novel)
Cast: Ulrich Mühe, Susanne Lothar, Nikolaus Paryla
Bureaucracy; the scourge of the modern individual. It’s something with which almost every person can be completely united in their frustration. We may live in the technological age but modern society’s still plagued with various bodies for which we must navigate a labyrinth of different processes. We can still find ourselves drowning in forms requiring this information, or that signature, and manically flitting from one department to another, and another, to get an answer. Slowly losing the will to live, we can be convinced that we’re not just going around in circles but utterly lost within the machinery.
Such plight has come to be termed ‘Kafakaesque’ after the sort of mind-bending bureaucratic hell within which Franz Kafka’s characters would often find themselves ensnared in his writing. His novel The Trial was turned into a noir nightmare by Orson Welles, seeing Anthony Perkins destined to appear in a faceless kangaroo court for a crime he’s unaware of. The author’s unfinished novel, The Castle (Das Schloß), also featured such a situation where a character is driven mad by a lack of answers. This is exactly how an audience can feel after a Michael Haneke film, so it seems appropriate for him to be the one to adapt Kafka’s incomplete work.