nedjelja, 26. svibnja 2013.

Peter Capaldi - Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1994) [+ Kafka na filmu]

Combine Franz Kafka’s 1915 novella The Metamorphosis (get free etext here) with Frank Capra’s 1946 classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life, and what do you get? A rather remarkable absurdist short film. Directed by Peter Capaldi, Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life won an Oscar for Live Action Short Film in 1994, plus a BAFTA Award for Best Short Film. Watch Part 1 above, and then find Part 2 and Part 3 on YouTube. The 25 minute film is also added to our collection of Free Movies Online. -


“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning, he discovered that he had been transformed into a giant… banana…”
FRANZ KAFKA’S IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE was a short film made in 1993 for BBC Scotland. It was written and directed by Peter Capaldi (who starred in Ken Russell’s LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM), who was inspired following a slip of the tongue by his wife Elaine Collins (who also appears in the movie), as she obviously meant Frank Capra. And the obvious potential of mashing up the warm sentimentality of Capra’s film with the visceral existential dread of Kafka’s mind feels like it should have been done years before.
Christmas Eve. The saturnine, doubt-ridden Franz Kafka (Richard E Grant, WITHNAIL & I) is struggling with the opening line to a new story. A psychological horror story where a man becomes something that is… not-man. But what?
As he sits in his cold, stark rooms, caught in the grips of writer’s block, he also faces constant interruptions, from the loud party going on downstairs, to people coming to the door offering him giant insect costumes and party balloons, to the cockroaches crawling across his desk… and then there’s Woland (Ken Stott, SHALLOW GRAVE), a knife sharpener man who carries dozens of blades in his coat, and is desperately looking for his missing “conscience”, an insect he calls Jiminy Cockroach. Kafka’s visit downstairs to Miss Cicely (Elaine Collins) and her female friends and relatives to complain about their party, offers him a brief respite, and a new bit of inspiration: Gregor Samsa transforms into a giant kangaroo!
Or maybe not.
Kafka continues to try to find the perfect opening line, finally achieving it after squashing a bug, though he becomes immediately grief-stricken; as much as he hates bugs and filth, he recognizes that they have as much right to live as he does. And then the maniacal Woland comes in, reads the line on the page, and assumes that Kafka’s responsible for his little friend’s disappearance. And what will happen to a man with many knives who has lost his conscience?
The 25-minute movie is not strictly horror, though it has bleak, horrific and surreal elements (not to mention the horror of writer’s block, especially for a driven, neurotic figure like Kafka, even if this takes a comic approach to it), and adaptations of Kafka’s seminal work have been featured here on Anythinghorror. It’s all presented with a Gothic style that would give Tim Burton a boner (with the visualizations of Samsa (Crispin Letts, ISOLATION) through Kafka’s mind’s eye are done in handcranked silent film style). There are numerous visual and verbal puns throughout, especially if you’re familiar with his work. The ending brings a ghoulish Addams Family twist to the gooey finale of Capra’s movie, while still achieving the original heartwarming feel of making the protagonist aware of the true meaning of Christmas: family and friends. And creepy crawlies.

Kafka (Richard E. Grant) is experiencing a little writer's block
FRANK KAFKA’S IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE It went on to co-win an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film. The movie itself is available on YouTube here as well as appearing in some DVD short film collections, and it makes for a witty, clever diversion from the usual Christmas fare.

Još o Kafki na filmu:

Hunger Artist by Bernard Rudden 

Franz Kafka

Directed by Piotr Dumala
Poland, 1992, b/w, 15 min.
Using Kafka's diaries, letters, and novels, Polish animator Piotr Dumala provides a unique interpretation of the life of the famed writer. Using photos shot by Kafka himself, Dumala documents the writer's creative birth as well as his descent into isolation.

The Hunger Artist

Directed by Tom Gibbons
US, 2002, color, 16 min.
The Hunger Artist is a performer whose art is determined by his refusal to eat. Animator Tom Gibbons uses stop-motion a effect to give eerie life to one of Kafka's most famed short stories.

Kafka Goes to the Movies

Directed by Hanns Zischler

France/Germany, 2002, 54 min.
French with English subtitles
While working on a television movie project about Franz Kafka, German actor Hanns Zischler discovered a series of passionate writings in Kafka's journals about his own moviegoing. Zischler, who also wrote a book of the same title, spent the next twenty-five years combing through archives and libraries to locate many of the now-extinct films cited by Kafka in his journals. The result is a witty conjecture on the Czech writer's fascination with film and Zischler's fascination with Kafka.

The Trial (Le Procés)

Directed by Orson Welles
France/ Italy/ West Germany, 1962, b/w, 118 min.
With Anthony Perkins, Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider
Hailed upon its release as a masterpiece by European critics but dismissed as a failure by the British and American press, The Trial is arguably Welles's finest film after Citizen Kane (and with Kane, the only other film over which he exercised complete creative control). Welles's rendition of Franz Kafka's nightmarish story of a man arrested for a crime that is never explained to him features Anthony Perkins as Josef K., a twitchy individual pursued by a repressive bureaucracy, obsessed by an undefined guilt, and bewildered by the burden of living. With its jazz soundtrack, shadowy black-and-white cinematography, angled close-ups, and labyrinthine spaces, Welles's Trial gives cinematic expression to Kafka's complex parable of contemporary existence.

The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa

Directed by Caroline Leaf
Canada, 1977, color, 10 min.
Gregor Samsa experiences an unimaginable transformation in Kafka's most famous story. Caroline Leaf brings Kafka's world of alienation and guilt to life using an innovative sand-on-glass technique, sepia-toned imagery, and an imaginative soundtrack.

Metamorphosis (Förvandlingen)

Directed by Valeri Fokin
Russia, 2002, color, 90 min.
With Yevgeni Mironov, Igor Kvasha, Tatyana Lavrova
Russian with English subtitles
Acclaimed Russian theater director Valeri Fokin offers a unique take on one of Kakfa's greatest short stories. Yevgeni Mironov stars as Gregor Samsa, the mild-mannered clerk who awakens to find himself transformed into a giant insect. Without the aid of special effects or outlandish makeup and costuming, Fokin succeeds in constructing a compelling and plausible transformation thanks in large part to a strong performance from Mironov. Fokin's sensitivity to the story's exploration of class tensions in early 1900s Prague is just as telling in the post-Soviet Russian era.

Directed by Shoja Azari
US/Morocco, 2002, b/w, 85 min.
With Mohammed Ghaffari, Oz Phillips, Rick Poli
Iranian-American multimedia artist Shoja Azari adapts three Kafka stories (The Married CoupleIn the Penal ColonyA Fratricide) in his first feature film. Although shot in stark black and white, the film succeeds in conveying Kafka's often twisted sense of humor. Azari also makes the unconventional choice to recast the same actors in all three stories, blurring the boundaries between each segment's distinct cinematic space. In the face of such downbeat events as salesmen probing a man on his deathbed, Azari's sly wit overcomes the potentially devastating impact of these provocative images.

Class Relations (Klassenverhaltnisse)

Directed by Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet
France/ West Germany, 1984, b/w, 126 min.
With Christian Heinisch, Laura Betti, Mario Adorf
German with English subtitles
Amerika, Kafka's unfinished novel about corruption and moral bankruptcy in the United States, provides the basis for one of Straub and Huillet's most critically acclaimed works. Karl Rossmann, a middle class German, accepts his uncle's offer to come to New York. Upon his arrival, he is immediately presumed guilty until proven innocent, yet proceeds on a journey throughout the country. Straub and Huillet's trademark minimalism is particularly evident in the subdued performances of their actors, which, in themselves, provide an interesting commentary on American enthusiasm.


Directed by Jaromil Jires
Czechoslovakia, 1991, color, 90 min.
With Maximilian Schell, Christopher Chaplin, Vlastimil Brodsky
German with English subtitles
Labyrinth is an intellectually bracing investigation of the connection between the fictional world of Franz Kafka and the historical persecution of the Jews that culminated in the Holocaust. Framing his intense drama with recitations of the human rights denied to Jews under the Third Reich, veteran Czech director Jires creates his alter ego in Maximilian Schell, who plays a director taking up residence in Prague to prepare a film about Kafka. Christopher Chaplin, son of Charlie Chaplin, plays Kafka.

Steven Soderbergh: Kafka (1991)

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