Books as Films at Snell: The Trial

Last week sometime I watched Orson Welles’ The Trial, partly because if I only watch The Goofy Movie all the time, I start feeling bad about myself, and partly because I really like Orson Welles.  The Trial is based on the story of the same name by Franz Kafka about a man who is being prosecuted for a crime. The crime is never revealed to the baffled, helpless main character, or to the readers, and a variety of strange events occur. It’s pretty surreal (a la Kafka) and has that eerie Orson-black-and-white look to it that’s so perfect for this story. I also really love Anthony Perkins and his lovely little old-fashioned American accent. He was the perfect K., switching back and forth between assumed indignation, unexplainable guilt, and desperate frustration in the face of the looming, untouchable, unseen, abstract, omniscient authority figure and justice system of which K is an apparent victim. The scenes of K’s office – basically a warehouse with rows and rows and rows of identical desks containing typists, with his office on this large concrete raised platform at the head of the room – were my favorite. They were so surreal and mechanized-looking. I loved the scene when his uncle comes to visit and they chat in his ‘office’ with all the drones in the back typing away outside of his wall-less room. Suddenly all of the typists get up at once and start putting on their jackets all at once, all leaving immediately in perfect synchronization. To work, back home, to bed, awaken. To work, back home, to bed awaken. It was a great little illustration. The Trial can be borrowed at the library in book and film form.