Franz Kafka’s short story “A Country Doctor” is a tale about a poor doctor who is called to make an emergency visit to a family with a sick son. But because this is Kafka, the story runs into its share of surreal oddities–from ominous horses to creepy children’s choirs. But Japanese animator Kōji Yamamura perfectly captures the bizarre spirit of Kafka’s writing in this 2007 animated adaptation of the story. Yamamura adapts a semi-European style to the animation, creating a world that’s loyal to Kafka’s vision while also incorporating some of Yamamura’s more bizarre aesthetics. The liquid-y way the characters move combined with the bellowing nature of the narration are just a few examples of the clever touches Yamamura uses to create the atmosphere. But despite the artistic licenses, he stays loyal to Kafka, even ending the film with the same sense of bewilderment as the original. The film is stunning, weird (extremely weird) but utterly captivating.
If you haven’t read Kafka’s short story yet, it’s available to read online.
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Most people will picture a giant, grotesque insect laying in bed when talking about Franz Kafka’s literary contributions since his most popular story is The Metamorphosis, but the famed Czech writer had other manuscripts published that contribute to his everlasting literary influence. One of these is his novel The Trial, an overlooked gem of magnificent proportions and existential questions.
Published in 1925, one year after the author’s death, The Trial tells the story of Josef K., a banker who is inexplicably charged with a crime (which is never revealed either to him or the reader), and the subsequent actions taken by him to avoid this mysteriously anointed fate. Filled with the pragmatic quandaries of a soul in disarray, Kafka’s novel has become the epitome of what humans fear the most: the uncanny.
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