Screening Dates
  • May 15, 2023 8:30
  • May 23, 2023 6:00
  • May 26, 2023 8:50
  • June 5, 2023 8:30
New Restoration

A frenzy of expressionistic images … Who better to reveal the system’s evil genius than Welles, the golden boy turned Hollywood martyr?”

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Orson Welles’s audacious adaptation of Kafka was dear to his heart—“the best film I have ever made,” he called it in 1962—and was the first work since Citizen Kane over which he exercised complete artistic control. Shot in communist Zagreb and in Paris’s then deserted Gare d’Orsay, with Anthony Perkins as persecuted bureaucrat Joseph K., the apocalyptic film filters Kafka’s expressionist nightmare through film noir, Hiroshima, and the Holocaust. Now widely esteemed, it initially met with a divided reception; English-language critics viewed it as a disappointment, while Europeans hailed it as a baroque, labyrinthine masterpiece.The cast includes Jeanne Moreau and Romy Schneider. The Welles-narrated prologue, an illustration of Kafka’s parable Before the Law,” features the pinscreen animation of Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker. This new restoration, made to mark the film’s 60th anniversary, was produced from the original 35mm negative.

In English

A highly personal and slanted reading of a classic … Comparable to [Welles’s] legendary 1937 stage production of Julius Caesar [and] his even more famously updated 1938 War of the Worlds for radio.”

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Welles captures the nightmare aspect of the novel with great ingenuity … Splendid to look at and teeming with ideas.”

Amy Taubin, Village Voice

The most hateful, the most repellant, and the most perverted film Welles ever made.”

Andrew Sarris, The American Cinema