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The Castle (1997)

Das Schloß (original title)
When a land surveyor arrives at a small snowy village, local authorities refuse to allow him to advance to the nearby castle. Increasingly complicated bureaucratic obstacles arise.


Michael Haneke


Franz Kafka (novel), Michael Haneke (adaptation)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ulrich Mühe ... K.
Susanne Lothar ... Frieda
Frank Giering ... Artur
Felix Eitner Felix Eitner ... Jeremias
Nikolaus Paryla Nikolaus Paryla ... Vorsteher
André Eisermann ... Barnabas
Dörte Lyssewski Dörte Lyssewski ... Olga
Inga Busch Inga Busch ... Amalia
Norbert Schwientek Norbert Schwientek ... Bürgel
Hans Diehl Hans Diehl ... Erlanger
Birgit Linauer Birgit Linauer ... Pepi
Branko Samarovski Branko Samarovski ... Herrenhofwirt
Ortrud Beginnen Ortrud Beginnen ... Brückenwirtin
Otto Grünmandl Otto Grünmandl ... Brückenwirt
Johannes Silberschneider ... Lehrer


When a land surveyor arrives at a small snowy village, local authorities refuse to allow him to advance to the nearby castle. Increasingly complicated bureaucratic obstacles arise.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery


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Germany | Austria



Release Date:

October 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Castelo See more »

Filming Locations:

Steiermark, Austria

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The same year, Michael Haneke released Funny Games (1997) with the same lead actors than this film. See more »


Version of Tsikhe-Simagre (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

An unfinished film adapted from an unfinished novel
29 May 2013 | by rstout3526See all my reviews

The scenes generally play out as they do in the novel, including the gaps from the novel, Haneke's view of Kafka's satirisation of bureaucracy. In 'Das Schloss' Kafka is at his usual absurd and pessimistic yet still very realistic idea of the world and the state. Themes and archetypes of alienation, physical and psychological brutality, parent–child conflict, characters on a terrifying quest, and mystical transformations. In existentialism, the individual's starting point is characterised by what has been called the existential attitude, or a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. This is the film of the unfinished novel. It expertly captures the abject, horrifyingly ridiculous, paranoia existentialist view of Kafka. A land surveyor named 'K' is invited to the Castle to do some work for a Count, but when he arrives at a Village where he finds that nobody is expecting him. K's attempts to get into the Castle are as unsuccessful as his attempt to settle into the local village. Greeted but not welcomed by a collective reluctance from the villagers, who with a systematic inefficiency prevent him from any prospects of even approaching the castle. The harder the stubborn K tries, the more he moves from his goals. You never see either the Count or indeed The Castle. The whole series of events is shot during winter with a grainy effect - possibly as a result of a TV transfer to DVD. The film was originally made for Austrian TV. The film ends as the book does - unfinished. The late Ulrich Mühe and Sussane Lothar are exceptional. With respect to perhaps Orson Welles, this film could not be made by mainstream Hollywood - they wouldn't know what to do with it! Although the film is certainly not for everyone, perhaps for Haneke fans only.

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