Kafka (film)

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Kafka film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Produced by Harry Benn
Stuart Cornfeld
Written by Lem Dobbs
Music by Cliff Martinez
Cinematography Walt Lloyd
Edited by Steven Soderbergh
Baltimore Pictures
Renn Productions
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date
  • November 15, 1991 (1991-11-15)
Running time
98 minutes
Country France
United States
Language English
Budget $11 million
Box office $1.1 million

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.

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[1]


Set in the city of Prague in 1919, Kafka tells the tale of an insurance worker 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.



Kafka was met with mixed reviews from critics.

Alternate version[edit]

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.[2] 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.[2]


  1. ^ "Kafka". Film Notes. 
  2. ^ a b 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. 

External links[edit]