Synopsis: Kafka is a 1991 mystery thriller film directed by Steven Soderbergh. Ostensibly a biopic, based on the life of Franz Kafka, the film blurs the lines between fact and Kafka's fiction (most notably The Castle and The Trial), creating a Kafkaesque atmosphere. It was written by Lem Dobbs, and stars Jeremy Irons in the title role, with Theresa Russell, Ian Holm, Jeroen Krabbé, Joel Grey, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and Alec Guinness.
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
  1 win & 1 nomination.
98 min


The Old Town is quiet. It's very early in the twisted

streets of this ancient ghetto. Dark corners casting a

medieval spell over a modern century oblivious to their

romance and mystery.

The River is the dividing line. Elegant gardens on the

opposite bank embracing the monotonous solemnity of the New

Town, tower steeples silhouetted against the sombre sky.

An empty motor bus rattles along a deserted street.

A Gothic bridge links the two halves of the strange city.

Its half-moon arches becoming circles as they meet their

reflections in the water. Thin mist swirls over the

cobblestones above.

A few boats in the water. Fishermen casting their lines in

silence. One or two lights now burning in buildings beyond.

In the Old Town Square the great clock on the cathedral

strikes six.



His eyes filled with terror, beads of sweat crawling on his


He stands in the middle of a murky courtyard, perfectly

still. Waiting. Watching.

The balconies overlooking on successive floors, looming all

around him, are empty. All is quiet.

The man's name is EDUARD. He dares not move for fear of

missing a single sound. And then he hears it. A small noise

of movement nearby. He runs.


He runs alone in the dim light of the deserted morning.


Running for his life.


Running on sheer pumping fear, long after the verge of



Coming out into the light, but by no means out of danger, he

allows himself a brief pause, gasping for air, just for a

moment looking back into the gloom, starting to retreat again

even as he does, then turning running ...


He runs on, past boarded-up houses and shuttered inns,

strange relics of the Middle Ages casting frightening



Eduard appears suddenly, quickly flattens himself back

against the large notice board that covers the wall here,

layers of expressionistic theatre and film posters pasted on


He breathes painfully in short bursts, as silently as he

can. He watches the corner he's just come from, the ornate

archway through which any pursuer must emerge.

Nothing there. But then a shadow moves.

Eduard's shoulders tense. His eyes widen. He holds his


The shadow ... spreading ...

Eduard edges away ever so slowly, keeping his unblinking gaze

on the archway, backing off, one arm brushing the notice

board as he feels his way along it, macabre images on the

posters, some torn and incomplete, revealing other fragments

behind, Eduard's eyes staring constant, no noise here at all

and --

A HAND! clamps over his face from behind. All of a sudden

and out of absolutely nowhere and not a thing he can do about


But he tries, his hands coming up to grip the arm that grasps

him, an arm of iron.

The hand is huge. It covers Eduard's face almost entirely,

only one eye gaping bloodshot through the fingers, ghastly

fingers that, just for a second, seem almost inhuman, perhaps

even fingers that seem incompatible on the same hand, a hand

covered in scar tissue, starting to squeeze as it pulls

Eduard swiftly away.



Clacketing incessantly under slightly more agile and refined

fingers. Beyond these, another row of desks. And beyond

that another, the office workers in their neat suits tapping


And beyond that another, at which one worker scribbles

furiously at his figures, the next rolls a new sheet into his

typewriter, the next answers his clanging telephone, the next

rifles through the pages of a massive record book, the next

sits erect in his chair playing his machine like a piano, and

the last, by the window, dusty light streaming across him,

contemplatively taps the end of a pencil onto his desk. This


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Lem Dobbs

Lem Dobbs (born Anton Lemuel Kitaj; 24 December 1959) is a British-American screenwriter, best known for the films Dark City (1998) and The Limey (1999). He was born in Oxford, England, and is the son of the painter, R.B. Kitaj. The nom de plume "Dobbs" was taken from the character played by Humphrey Bogart in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). more…

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Submitted by aviv on January 30, 2017


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"Kafka" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 21 Sep. 2020. <https://www.scripts.com/script/kafka_883>.

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