Film Screening The Trial - directed by Orson Welles

The Trial © Goethe-Institut | Image Courtesy: Tamasa Distribution

Saturday, 18.02.2023 at 10:00 am

Kailasapathy Auditorium - University of Jaffna

based on Franz Kafka's novel

In partnership with Kälam and the University of Jaffna, we will be screening "The Trial" (1963, 120 min ) by Orson Welles at the Kailasapathy Auditorium in Jaffna. We have invited Sasinidu Patabendige to share a few introductory words on Kafka and his work and will get Dr. Mahendran Thiruvarangan’s support for translation. The screening is accompanying the virtual reality installation VRWandlung/Metamorphosis that transfers Franz Kafka’s work from the pages of a book to virtual reality. VRWandlung will open at Kälam on 16th of February, 5 PM.

Franz Kafka is certainly not one of the easiest writers in the world on whose work a film could be made. The Trial stands out in the category of screen adaptation of one of the world’s classics. Due to the excellent cast and the extraordinary personality of Orson Welles which is reflected in very angle and shot of the film, The Trial was highly praised by the press. The Trial was made in black and white to emphasize Kafka’s metaphysics and Welle’s Babylonian expressionism. The film is based on Kafka’s obsession with a mysterious justice, a latent feeling of guilt, which after Kafka, was to become one of the roots of modern literature. An amusing note about The Trial is that it was Romy Schneider’s idea that besides directing and writing the script, Orson Welles should also act in the film.

Joseph K. is a peaceable young man. He is what is commonly termed an ordinary person, unobtrusive, is minding his own business. In the boarding house where he lives and which is managed by Mrs. Grubach, a police inspector wakes him up at daybreak and informs him that he is under arrest. However, he is not taken into custody: pending trial. K. is permitted to pursue his usual activities but is required to remain at the disposal of the judicial authorities around the clock. Joseph K. who ignores what he is charged with, notices that the people around him no longer meet him with the usual friendliness or even indifference: Miss Burstner, who lives on the same floor, treats him with contempt when she knows that he is awaiting trial and Miss Pittl, a friend of Miss Burtner’s even insults him in public.

Coming from an appearance before the examining magistrate – the writ of summons had been served him while attending a theatrical performance – Joseph K. is distressed: He has not been told what he is accused of: after his visit to the magistrate, a woman he does not know, a housewife, offers her assistance. Seeing him downcast, she feels sympathy towards him. But she bursts out laughing when a student comes to interrupts and distract her.

The old lawyer recommended, to him by his uncle, is laid up in bed. He does not appear to be of great help to Joseph K.. His nurse, a mysterious young woman, tells him in confidence that his case looks very bad. From now on, Joseph K. is in unbearable anguish, he is sure that he is guilty. And although he is unable to find an answer to the hundreds of questions haunting him, he is convinced that he is going to be condemned.