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Kafka (1991)

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1:23 | Trailer
Kafka works during the day at an insurance company, where events lead him to discover a mysterious underground society with strange suppressive goals.

Director:

Steven Soderbergh

Writer:

Lem Dobbs
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Irons ... Kafka
Theresa Russell ... Gabriela
Joel Grey ... Burgel
Ian Holm ... Doctor Murnau
Jeroen Krabbé ... Bizzlebek
Armin Mueller-Stahl ... Grubach
Alec Guinness ... The Chief Clerk
Brian Glover ... Castle Henchman
Keith Allen ... Assistant Ludwig
Simon McBurney ... Assistant Oscar
Robert Flemyng ... The Keeper of the Files
Matyelok Gibbs Matyelok Gibbs ... Concierge
Ion Caramitru ... Solemn Anarchist
Hilde Van Mieghem ... Female Anarchist (as Hilde Van Meighem)
Jan Nemejovský ... Mustachioed Anarchist
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Storyline

Kafka, an insurance worker gets embroiled in an underground group after a co-worker is murdered. The underground group is responsible for bombings all over town, attempting to thwart a secret organization that controls the major events in society. He eventually penetrates the secret organization and must confront them. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 November 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Кафка See more »

Filming Locations:

Czech Republic See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,814, 6 December 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,059,071
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When searching for Edward in the "Café Continental", as he exits, some of his friends ask Kafka: "What are you working on?" He replies:" A thing about a man who wakes up and finds himself transformed into a giant insect!" This is a direct reference to Franz Kafka's novel: "The Metamorphosis", which was, in reality, published five years before this event in the movie. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Murnau: You despise someone like me - because you despise the modern. But you are at the very forefront of what is modern. You write about it, you document it... Unlike you, though, I have chosen to embrace it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Clerks (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Walk With The Anarchists
Composed by Cliff Martinez
(p) & © 1992 Virgin Records America, Inc.
distributed by WEA through arrangement with Atlantic Records.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Admirable Effort
3 November 2012 | by itamarscomixSee all my reviews

Much like David Cronenberg's 'Naked Lunch', 'Kafka' attempts to merge a biographical film and a literary adaptation, by combining elements from Franz Kafka's notoriously unfilmable books and stories with details from his real life. The thing is, where Steven Soderbergh's film is an admirable effort at filming Kafka's work, other films by more accomplished directors, made around the same time or several years earlier, managed to capture Kafka's spirit much more successfully without ever mentioning his name or the title of any of his works - Scorsese's 'After Hours', Woody Allen's 'Shadows and Fog', and to a lesser extent Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil' and Joel & Ethan Coen's 'Barton Fink' all achieve Kafka's unique feeling of futility and paranoia, as well as his pitch black sense of humor, while 'Kafka' resembles Kafka's writing mainly on the surface. This is the script's fault more than Soderbergh's, because the film looks great and delivers the dark, weird disconcerting feeling of Kafka's works, but by not delving into the philosophy behind them, by having almost no sense of humor, and by adhering to a pretty straightforward conspiracy plot, it remains little more than an aesthetic illustration of what a Kafka film might look like.

Despite a weak script, the film manages several memorable scenes, mainly thanks to terrific cinematography and a wonderful cast - Jeremy Irons, surprisingly, not being one of the film's standout performance. Rather, it's more minor characters played by Joel Grey, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Keith Allen, Simon McBurney and the great Alec Guinness in his last feature film role that stick to the viewer's mind, and for brief moments they can create the sense of paranoia, of surreal, nightmarish bureaucracy that is at the root of Kafka's writing; again, without the underlying philosophy, there's something unsatisfying about the overall result, and the story keeps distracting from the more interesting aspects. The film is, overall, interesting but frustrating; it's probably worth watching for Kafka fans, but it's not good enough to truly appease them. On the other hand, it may be too confusing for anyone who isn't familiar enough with his work.


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