Franz Kafka (1883-1924) is the author of three unfinished novels, Der Prozeß (The Trial), Das Schloß (The Castle) and Amerika as well as numerous shorter works, including Das Urteil (The Judgement), Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor), In der Strafkolonie (In the Penal Settlement) and Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis).
Very few of these works were published in Kafka’s lifetime, and when he died of tuberculosis shortly before his forty-first birthday, he was virtually unknown outside his home city of Prague.
Just before his death, he asked his closest friend, Max Brod, to destroy everything he had written. Fortunately, Brod did not carry out Kafka’s wishes but set about meticulously editing and publishing all the manuscripts he could find and, in doing so, ensured Kafka’s massively influential literary legacy.
By the 1930’s, Kafka’s reputation had begun to grow, then after the Second World War it exploded around the globe.
What started out as the intensely personal expression of self-doubt, self-disgust, despair, desperation and isolation touched a universal chord. Kafka seemed to confirm the feelings of the generations caught in the shadows of the two Great Wars.
His private themes were seen as symbolising the far wider political and social struggles of minority religions, cultures and movements. Groups such as the the Freudians, Expressionists, Absurdists, Avant-Gardists, Marxists and Zionists saw him as their representative and spokesman.
Today Kafka is the most acclaimed writer of the Twentieth Century, recognised as the father of modern literature, yet his superb story, Metamorphosis, has never been made into a feature length film, so this is the first attempt ever in world cinema to bring the most famous short story in literature to the big screen.
METAMORPHOSIS - what did it mean?
Kafka’s creature, with its hard outer shell and ineffectual jaws, is Twentieth Century literature’s most poignant and vivid symbol of self-willed schizophrenia. METAMORPHOSIS is about a person who puts forward flimsy little legs and a useless mouth as the signs of a total incapacity to bear the burden placed upon him. He literally puts up a protective shell around himself as an expression of his refusal to take responsibility any more. In this state he finds some sort of hope for peace.