Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life (1993)

Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy  |   Run Time - 25 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Emru Townsend

Franz Kafka, whose short stories suggest unbearable internal torment, would seem to be the perfect subject for a satirical look at the notion of the tortured artist. In his directorial debut, Peter Capaldi makes good use of Richard E. Grant, who swings between nervous twitchiness, the awkward introverted demeanor of a writer, and frustrated anger at himself for his inability to finish even the opening sentence to his latest short story, The Metamorphosis. The slightly offbeat demeanor of the various characters who intrude on his concentration adds to both the humor and the bleakness of Kafka's onscreen life; and even when he does eventually get his inspiration two-thirds of the way through the film, it only leads to more despair, fear, and absurdity. While it's sure to be a good laugh for any artist faced with an empty canvas, this movie will at least bring a smile to the face of anyone who had to read Kafka in school.