"Kafka", by Lem Dobbs
PRAGUE - MORNING
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
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
A MAN'S FACE
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
AROUND A CORNER
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
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.
A ROW OF TYPEWRITERS - DAY
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
A rather tall young man with a kind, sensitive face.
sensitive perhaps because his eyes, ears, and nose seem
slightly bigger and more inquiring than most, and his gaze
one of almost unrelenting intensity.
He's looking off at something now.
A desk, not very far from his own. But empty. The chair
pushed squarely under it. The typewriter covered.
Kafka is wondering why -- when his concentration is
Kafka turns to see BURGEL, a creep.
The keeper of the files is still
waiting for your final summation
of the Erlanger claim.
I gave it to him yesterday.
You didn't give it to me.
No, I left it in his office.
Did you see him?
I've never seen him. I don't
believe there is a keeper of the
He's usually in the storage room
sorting things out. He can't
close the file on a case until he
has the concluding report.
He has it, he just hasn't noticed
it yet, all right?
Who's to say he ever will? He's
a timid old man and quite careful
not to tread on anyone's toes --
In fact, I'm the only one he trusts
and he wouldn't even look at a
document if it didn't first come
Burgel just won't go away. Kafka tries to get on with his
In an organization as efficient as
ours, if a document once in a great
while gets lost it might never be
found at all.
(tiring of this)
Burgel, I thought it would be
easier, as long as I was passing --
But I'm the messenger. An error
like this damages my credibility.
Your credibility -- yes, it's well
When I deliver a message the very
act of delivering it, you might say,
gives it an official stamp, and only
in this way are both the sender and
the receiver satisfied that it was
delivered at all.
I'll commit that to memory.
They stare at each other with mutual antagonism.
Your position in this firm is not
He waddles away.
Has one more look over at the empty desk before returning to
The desks make a checkerboard pattern of the huge floor as
Burgel calculates his path among them.
LODGING HOUSE - MIDDAY
Kafka comes up the stairs to the top landing. He knocks on a
door. Waits. Knocks again. Leans a little closer to listen
for a moment, then goes away back down the stairs.
Kafka comes through the door that divides the stairs from the
hall, goes to knock on the door of the first apartment down
I'm sorry to disturb you -- I
wonder if you know where my
friend Eduard is?
I can't hear you! -- You'd better
Kafka comes in tentatively, seeing the CONCIERGE in a far
corner of the cluttered room, in bed, covers tucked right up
to her chin.
-- I didn't want to bother you.
Well, you have. What do you
My friend Eduard, I wonder if you've
seen him? He hasn't been in to
work, I thought he might be ill.
The Concierge trudges up to the top floor, Kafka following
You didn't have to get out of
bed -- I could have taken the key.
Yes, I'm sure you could.
She treats him like dirt.
The door unlocks and the two of them come in. Kafka goes to
open the window curtain. He turns around to see the
Concierge already poking about in drawers.
He ignores her and looks around the room on his own. Eduard
isn't here. Nothing else seems out of place. He wonders
instead how he can dissuade the Concierge from her
Well, he's not here.
The Concierge takes a tie from one of the drawers and models
it over her own ample chest.
Do you think you ought to do
She looks at him indignantly.
The manners of a tramp! It's my
house, isn't it?
OFFICES - AFTERNOON
Kafka is in another section of the building, finding his way
through a department he's vaguely unfamiliar with. He
searches out a particular person -- a strikingly beautiful
woman with flaming hair and wild eyes.
GABRIELA looks around from a file cabinet.
I'm Kafka -- I work upstairs in
You're a friend of Eduard Raban's.
Why would you suppose so?
Oh -- well, I thought he once
(shuts file cabinet)
One of you must be mistaken.
He follows her to a counter where someone stamps the document
she thrusts forward without even glancing at her or it.
I'm sorry, but I just wondered --
(brushing past him)
Excuse me, I have to copy this for
Central Docketing by 2:30.
Kafka watches her go -- then notices some smarmy young clerks
giggling over what they suppose was a romantic rebuff.
Burgel sees Kafka coming back in toward his desk, immediately
walks to intersect him.
You're late -- I knew it would
happen one day.
Kafka ignores him utterly, leaving Burgel standing clutching
his files with a sour expression.
Kafka pauses at Eduard's desk, still untouched, then
continues on to his own.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF CLERK
Partitioned off from the rest, but commanding a full view of
all. Through the glass windows the CHIEF CLERK, a stern-
Looking fellow, notices Kafka and takes his watch out of his
pocket for a look.
THE OFFICE BELL - EVENING
RINGS, signalling the end of the work day. The office
workers clear their desks, start to leave.
The office workers stream down the stairs that wind around a
central elevator shaft, the gated elevator grinding upwards
at the same time.
When Kafka reaches the ground floor he passes a pair of
SENIOR PARTNERS conferring together -- and does a double-take
when he hears his name mentioned -- then sees the two men
shake hands conclusively and turn away. Kafka continues
walking away himself, worried about his future.
The office workers pour out of the building, all going in
different directions. Three of them get jammed in the
doorway, untangle themselves, and Kafka is the next to
THE CONTINENTAL COFFEE HOUSE - NIGHT
A lively place, crowded with chattering, smoking, arguing
students, poets, painters ...
Kafka joins a group of friends. It's clear that this is a
regular gathering and, from their warm reception, considered
incomplete without him.
-- This is our friend Anna who
works with us on the magazine.
I've been hearing all about you.
Don't worry, Kafka -- I championed
I'd like to hear them.
Anna's new to the city -- we
wouldn't frighten her needlessly.
I've lived all my life in this city
-- it frightens me. As it draws me
closer into its web.
-- This is an ancient lament.
No, but do you realize why? -- it
has no present.
-- I'm hoping to live in the Old
Even the so-called New Town isn't
so new. Only the people. People
of the future living in buildings
of the past.
Has anyone seen Eduard?
My friend Eduard from the office --
I've brought him here lots of times
-- you used to marvel at his travel
What d'you mean, oh him? He's
a perfectly nice person, he's never
missed a day before.
Perhaps he's taken up with those
traveling players you two were
so fond of.
No, it's me who always wanted to
run away with them -- except that
that life would be far too hectic
for me. I'm worried about him, no
one's seen him.
Haven't you ever called in sick
and gone roaming about, free of
responsibility to anyone, if only
for a day?
When you work for a medical firm
you can't call in sick. They know
malingerers like a dog knows fleas.
You work in the insurance department?
You have been hearing the sordid
Be pleased -- you constantly inspire
people to take an interest in your
I should think it's very interesting
Kafka shrugs shyly.
My father always said I had
NEAR THE FRONT DOOR - LATER
Smoke heavier in the air, the coffee house more crowded with
strange groups of characters. Kafka and his friends
preparing to leave.
The cabaret will be packed this
time of night -- we'll never get in.
Well, it has to be the cabaret
because there's nowhere else to go.
Home, I think.
(head on Ernst's shoulder)
You know I can't stay up late.
Home is the last resort --
The owner of the voice. A man sitting at the bar nearby,
turning on his stool to face them. A dissipated dandy of a
-- Do you know Bizzlebek --
Stonecutter, if you please.
Sculptor, if only he'd admit it.
No one should admit being an artist
unless they're paid for it. If
you go to the cabaret mention my
name -- they'll find a table for you.
Turning round again.
Bizzlebek has ways and means denied
lesser mortals. It comes from working
in the cemetery all day -- he's able
to transcent the physical world.
Bizz1ebek turns round again, with a bored sign.
No -- it only makes me view people
dispassionately as so many ... slabs.
He looks about, characterizing various coffee house types:
Quartz ... slate ... gravel ...
granite ... flint ...
It's GABRIELA from the office. Kafka is surprised to see
her, instinctively walking over to where she's sitting at a
My God, look, he's marching forward
willingly to make human contact.
Anna smiles. She's interested in Kafka. (Which means we
must see this warm attractive girl as a threat, a curse, a
--On the other hand, is an enticement. Kafka can't help
walking towards her. Sitting with her own friends, though
there is something less than friendly about them. Two men,
(as Kafka comes over)
I've never seen you here before.
Have you looked?
Kafka feels as awkward as she knows he feels. He looks to
her friends, expecting an introduction, but no one makes a
Well -- nice to know life exists
outside the office.
Kafka nods goodbye and walks away, berating himself for
OUTSIDE - NIGHT
Kafka resists going along with the others.
No, really, I have to go home too.
We're keeping him from his true
I know, he consists of writing.
We wouldn't be his friends if we
didn't threaten his solitude!
Julius is a little drunk. The others help him with his coat.
Has a private moment with Kafka.
Where do you live?
He gestures in the direction of the River, and the castle
that looms on a far hill beyond, huge and brooding, regally
dominating the city.
I tried finding a place on Castle
Hill when I arrived. I wanted to
share the majesty.
(The majesty of marriage is what he fears she represents.
This innocent scene could very well be a subjective
Kafkaesque nightmare as sinister in its own way as any of the
more outright horrific scenes to come.)
It's only majestic from here.
When you get closer you see it
for what it really is.
What is it really?
A glorified office block. They
keep all the old records there --
the final resting place for facts
and figures that have ceased to
matter in the world of the living.
Well, as long as I admire it from
afar it shouldn't worry me if it's
(The castle of marriage tempts him -- but would suffocate
It's more than hollow. It's
stillborn. For all its size it
serves no purpose. It's just
there -- like death -- hovering
over a breathing city.
Turn back into the picture. Margarete pats Kafka
Don't worry about your friend --
I'm sure he'll turn up.
(a parting word)
What are you working on, Kafka?
I'm writing a story about a man
who wakes up one morning to find
himself transformed into a giant
His friends glance at each other surreptitiously and don't
know what to say -- other than goodnight
Turns to go -- when he notices Bizzlebek leaning listlessly
in the coffee house doorway. A figure in the shadows.
I've read your stories. They're
(not sure if he
I don't know what you could have
Just what you've published.
-- In magazines nobody reads.
I read the one about the penal
The needles inscribing the
judgement into the flesh of the
Kafka suspects he's being mocked. But perhaps not.
Bizzlebek steps out, buttoning his coat.
If I could sculpt as well as that,
I'd be quite proud of myself.
He's already quite proud of himself -- tossing his scarf over
his shoulder with a flourish -- and striding off into the
THE CASTLE - NIGHT
Seen from just below, from the ancient cemetery that borders
its high, impregnable, imperial walls. The all-seeing-eye of
the city. An awesome edifice.
THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER
Kafka walking across from the Old Quarter toward the New
He passes some working-class types who seem vaguely
threatening. Do they mutter some remark behind his back?
ALCHEMISTS' ROW - NIGHT
A bizarre street. Tiny little houses that look fashioned by
a toymaker, all bunched tightly next to each other, forming a
continuous rooftop of odd configurations and angles and
pointed chimneys. The street named after practitioners of
the black arts and dark sciences who inhabited it in the
Kafka's house is toward the back, a light shining from the
single upper window. Through it, Kafka is seen sitting at
the only desk that really matters to him -- his writing one.
He's struggling to get a sentence right -- rereading it to
"As Gregor Samsa awoke one
morning from disturbing dreams
he ... from unsettling dreams ...
uneasy dreams ... Gregor Samsa ...
Carl. George. Rudolf ...
Suddenly there's a loud KNOCK on the front door below.
Kafka opens the tiny front door of this almost-miniature
little house. Two intimidating MEN stand outside, one tall,
one short, wearing similar black suits and grim expressions.
ANOTHER DOOR - NIGHT
Kafka tries to match the exacting pace of his two warders,
flanking him as they walk him along a corridor, through
Kafka tugs his collar up a bit, his breath visible in the
air. He has a feeling what's going to be under the sheet on
the lonely trolley in the middle of the room before the first
man summons him over to it.
Kafka goes. The first man yanks the sheet off the face in
one quick movement. The face of Eduard. White and bloated,
the tongue jutting, the eyes bulging.
Kafka recoils, stepping back instinctively.
(still behind Kafka
at the door)
You know him?
His name is Eduard Raban?
And now he hears a stirring in a dark corner. He looks up
A third man steps out of the shadows where he's been quietly
standing and walks over to Kafka. He is a severe man,
stolid, dedicated, and never smiles. He reminds Kafka of his
(with an introductory
INSPECTOR'S OFFICE - NIGHT
The Inspector behind his big desk. Kafka in front of it.
Kafka -- is that your real name?
Yes. Yes, of course -- why
wouldn't it be?
When was the last time you saw
Wednesday. We left the office
Did you go anywhere afterwards --
to have a drink perhaps?
No, we said goodbye outside the
building. He went off, as usual,
toward his house.
Your office is the Workmen's --
-- Accident and Compensation
Where you've been employed for
Eight -- and seven months.
Engaged in the manufacture and
distribution of ... pills and so
Well -- other departments are, yes.
Would you describe your relationship
with the dead man as close?
Yes. Since he came to the office,
almost three years ago, we've
been quite good friends.
How was Eduard ...
He was found in the River. Could
I don't know.
Was he depressed?
No. He didn't seem to be. Do
you think he drowned himself?
Grown men don't normally fall
into the river, do they?
No, I suppose not.
(closing the file)
He might have had a drink or two,
despite what you think.
(as the interview
seems to be over)
Can I ask -- how you found me?
His landlady knew of no other
friends to refer us to.
I don't think he really had any.
He had no family either.
We know that.
He wasn't a lonely man, though.
What makes you think so?
... Just a perception.
Kafka comes out of a door that closes behind him. He stands
and waits. At a high desk a POLICEMAN is reading a
newspaper. Without even looking up from it he extends his
arm and pushes Kafka slightly to one side so he's no longer
blocking the light.
Two other MEN are here waiting, sitting on a bench, sharing a
private joke. Kafka glances down at himself, wondering if
his appearance could in any way inspire ridicule.
The door opens again and the Inspector is back.
I don't usually involve myself
with you people in the Old Quarter
-- but the River runs its own course.
It won't be the last time it
deposits its unwanted debris on my
Anyway, I'd like you to reflect
that in me you have -- I won't say
a friend, because we're complete
fencers, of course -- from
distinctly incompatible social
classes -- but to some extent, shall
we say, an interested third party.
I'll bear that in mind.
(hands Kafka his card)
-- Should you happen upon anything
that might be relevant.
He nods curtly at Kafka, and shuts his door.
With Eduard's sheet-covered form on it, coming down the hall,
the SQUEAKING WHEELS of the thing loud on the wooden floor.
The noise causes him to turn around. He watches the trolley
as it's pushed past.
AN OFFICE TROLLEY - DAY
Similarly coffin-like, loaded with files.
Edges out of the way to let it by, feeling as though it has
been made for him, is waiting for him.
He walks on to the Chief Clerk's office.
CHIEF CLERK'S OFFICE
Kafka comes in.
You wanted to see me, sir.
(indicates a chair)
Sit down, Kafka.
Kafka does. And the Chief Clerk stands up. He paces up and
down a bit, making Kafka awfully nervous before he finally
clears his throat and starts to get to the point.
You've been with the firm for
nearly nine years. You've done
your work diligently, there are no
complaints on that score. But
there's more to the job than the
work -- there are other people to
consider -- and frankly, Kafka, we
eel your social situation could
... My ... social situation?
You keep too much to yourself --
you're a lone wolf. It makes me
uneasy, and if it makes me uneasy
I can't imagine the impression you
make on lesser employees.
The Chief Clerk, towering over him, also reminds Kafka of his
father. Kafka tries putting up a defense.
To do my work well, I have little
time for --
You must make the time. Where
do you go off to in the lunch
I usually take lunch by the River.
It's not healthy, Kafka -- not for
you and not for your workmates. At
the annual dinner this month you
again failed to make an appearance.
I did not realize it was obligatory.
Have you never wondered -- and I
mention this only in passing --
(as he paces past and
Kafka turns his head)
why other clerks have advanced to
more responsible positions while you,
who have been here longer, have not?
Attitude, Kafka. It doesn't matter
how well you do your work -- you
still see it as something to be
gotten on with rather than something
to take an active interest in.
(leans forward in
Well, I --
Oh, I know you got along with that
poor fellow -- what was his name?
-- Eduard --
-- Yes -- Raban -- but he was too
much like you -- even more so
perhaps. He wasn't here as long as
you, so I didn't know him as well --
but I could see the influence he was
having. I simply want you to be
aware of this because you'll be
happier for it.
Kafka merely nods, starts to get up.
In any case -- don't ask me why --
the word has come down you're to
Kafka sits back down in the chair.
Your colleague's death has helped
precipitate the need, though I can
tell you it's been under
consideration for some time. You're
to be given two assistants and a
commensurate rise in salary.
(sits back behind
Kafka nods once, starts to go again.
I understand you fancy yourself an
In a small way.
You might find a more athletic
hobby -- put some color in your
He returns to his paperwork. Kafka leaves.
OUTSIDE CHIEF CLERK'S OFFICE
Walking away, Kafka notices Gabriela striding along an office
corridor -- and sneaky Burgel confronting her.
She looks distressed, walking tall as if to bolster her
composure. Sneaky Burgel does not help matters by
characteristically appearing from the sidelines.
Good morning --
(she ignores him)
Or should I say good afternoon?
Say what you like -- no one pays
the least attention.
Oh, don't they? I think you
underestimate my station in this
office and overrate your own.
Not today, Burgel. Send one of
your memos, write up one of your
communiques, but for God's sake
don't bother me today.
It's my place to offer advice, not
yours -- and by advising the Chief
Clerk of your unpunctuality it's
certainly not my situation that's
compromised, if that's what you're
(stops to glare at
You're just doing your job.
It's what I'm paid to do.
And you're late!
Suddenly, in a terrific release of pent-up emotion, she slaps
him hard across the cheek, the first of what would be a
flurry of blows if not for the fact that the unexpected force
of it throws Burgel reeling backwards before she can deliver
any more. Instead she rushes away, very upset.
As startled as the rest of the office by the incident.
Burgel recovers, straightening up in shock and
embarrassment. He immediately resolves to march directly to
the office of the Chief Clerk.
Seeing him coming, Kafka quickly starts away.
THE ASSISTANTS - DAY
OSKAR and LUDWIG. They look almost the same. At first
glance almost identical. It's only a closer inspection that
shows them to be imperfect twins. Dressed in matching suits.
One is sitting on Kafka's new desk, the other in Kafka's new
chair. They're rummaging about in his papers, and whenever
one selects a particular document for closer scrutiny, the
other promptly snatches it out of his hand.
Coming this way, has paused, having spotted the weird duo.
Continue with their mischief until one of them notices Kafka
coming and nudges the other so strongly he almost falls
over. They're both standing at attention, looking guilty, by
the time Kafka arrives.
My assistants, I presume.
Yes -- that's us.
Kafka smiles at them, half in friendliness, half in amusement
at their quirky appearance.
(offers his hand)
Oskar responds first, but Ludwig knocks his hand out of the
way to get there first.
(now it's his turn)
You look like brothers.
Yes -- we do.
Have you worked here long?
No, no, no -- quite a long time,
Kafka doesn't quite know what to make of these two, but they
seem pleasant enough fellows and they're looking at him with
such wide-eyed innocence he doesn't know what more to say to
them. So he turns to look around the new area he's been
assigned -- a burrow all to himself now -- even a personal
clothes peg on the wall for his coat.
The Assistants make stupid faces at each other behind his
back, but look serious again when he turns around.
Well, we'd better move things
from my old desk.
Look at each other with identical frowns, then back at
Kafka. Oskar nods, as if to say "oh, all right, if we
must." And Ludwig grins.
KAFKA'S NEW OFFICE - DAY
Kafka types up forms. He hears some noise and glances over
his shoulder to see how the Assistants are getting on --
they're sharing another desk, facing each other, and seem to
be working quietly, though with pouting expressions.
Kafka rolls a new form into the typewriter -- when a shadow
falls over the page.
Eduard and I had lunch together
one day ... and you saw us.
Kafka looks up at her. He nods.
On the Embankment.
THE EMBANKMENT - MIDDAY
Kafka and Gabriela stroll by the River, Kafka finishing off
his lunch as they go, occasionally offering tidbits to
Gabriela who either samples or refuses them.
I was having an affair with
(notes Kafka's reaction)
He didn't tell you?
He would have. You were his best
friend. A better friend than me.
I suspected that he -- well.
That he was -- satisfied in that
regard. I didn't want to pry.
(throws her hair
It's not that we wanted to deceive
anyone -- but you know how these
things are looked upon at the office.
Kafka lets out a smile at that. Gabriela is suspicious of
This morning it was suggested to
me that my own sense of office
fellowship could bear improving.
As long as it's on their terms.
If your work and your private
life don't correspond to their
specifications you're labelled a
dangerous agitator -- with no
The gnarled, barren branches of a nearby tree shiver over the
two of them.
How long were you and Eduard --
Two or three months, that's all.
-- I seduced him.
A flight of stone steps takes them up here to this vantage
spot overlooking the River and the city beyond. Kafka stands
by a railing -- and the huge, distorted shadow of SOMEONE
looms suddenly on the high wall under him.
You know as well as I do that he
didn't commit suicide.
Kafka looks at her.
No, I don't. I'm amazed that anyone
is able to bear life with any
assurance at all.
Eduard didn't see it as something
that needed bearing.
The police would know the
difference, wouldn't they?
Do you think people in the New
Town care what happens over here?
(nodding across the
This will always be the ghetto.
He wasn't robbed. He was
identified by his wallet.
And you believe everything the
authorities tell you.
When I have no reason to doubt.
The very fact that they're
authorities should give you reason.
People will do anything to protect
their own interests. For all you
know he was killed at the hands of
-- What could he have done to
For a moment she seems about to tell him, but then looks
away. Kafka follows her gaze.
IN THE DISTANCE
Someone else has paused at the embankment wall further away
to stare at the roiling water. He's too far away to see
clearly. Probably nothing sinister about him at all.
Turns back to Kafka.
Are you free tonight?
There are some people I'd like you
to meet. Can you come to the
Musil district at eight o'clock?
... All right.
Her eyes lock on his for a moment. She's beautiful. He's
You almost married recently,
Last year. I -- it was broken
Eduard wanted to marry me.
And you ...?
I'm suspicious of men who want
to marry. I believe they think
it's the only thing that will
make them equal to their fathers.
THE SHADOW ON THE WALL BENEATH
Disappears, the ominous black mass flowing off the large flat
surface as abruptly as it arrived. While up there on the
terrace we see Gabriela walk away from Kafka.
Stays where he is a moment, watching her. He may have found
his ideal woman.
-- I don't know the Musil
You won't have any trouble finding
FAT MEN - NIGHT
Sit laughing, jowls gyrating, around a table filled with an
abnormal amount of food. One of them stops laughing then,
and the others follow suit, one after the other in turn,
until they're all silent, looking at the same thing.
We're in a fancy restaurant, and the other customers have
also turned away from their dinners for the moment to stare
at the Man in Black who stands before the Fat Men.
The man wears a black mask as well. He presents the Fat Men
with a covered tray. They look at it, then back at him --
but he's walked away. They look at the tray again -- and one
of them lifts the cover. Underneath lies the classic black
bowling ball -- with a fuse burning at the top. The Fat Men
all try to stand up at once but --
BOOM! Their booth explodes with them in it.
At the doorway, holding a revolver loosely in one hand to
discourage heroes, the Man in Black turns calmly to face the
MAN IN BLACK
Long live anarchy!
He leaves. Fire in his wake.
THE OLD TOWN - NIGHT
Kafka walks the crooked streets -- in the direction of the
plume of smoke and illumination coming from the burning
In the dark distance behind him there seems to be a person
NOISY BEER SHOP
Neighborhood denizens have come out, hearing all the
excitement not far away. Kafka walks past. He looks behind
him, but the following figure has gone.
TWISTED LITTLE STREET
Kafka comes around a curve -- and sees ahead a dark figure
a black cape standing waiting under a lone lamppost. When
Kafka gets a bit nearer, the figure starts to walk slowly
away, as if expecting Kafka to follow.
The dark figure walks alongside a row of black window panes,
turning around the corner where they end. Kafka follows
around the corner -- and through a dingy doorway.
A LOPSIDED STAIRWAY
Leads him up to a large attic. Warning shadows.
Gloomy except for the light around a table at a far end.
Kafka advances, seeing Gabriela sitting there with her same
companions from the coffee house. Kafka stops in front of
VOICE FROM BEHIND
Please sit down.
Kafka turns to see the last of the group come in, having
obviously tailed him all along. A burly man with a BEARD.
The leader of this anarchist cell.
Kafka sits down, in between a SOLEMN man with a moustache and
a woman with a POCKMARKED face. The seedy YOUTH who led him
in completes the circle.
We'll save the introductions.
(takes his seat)
We don't know yet if you're friend
Strangers make better foes than
friends. Will you tell me who you
are altogether, if not individually?
Heralds of a new age -- does that
You could say we represent the
unofficial view of a well-ordered
Ah -- we're back to the "authorities"
you spoke of.
They're ubiquitous. What we try to
do ... is make them a little less so.
Quite a disturbance tonight, yes?
And perhaps you recall last month --
the explosion at the Municipal
Courthouse that sent one of the
examining magistrates to join the
... Was Eduard one of you?
The last to join us, the first to
Gabriela darts a fierce look at her overly-flippant
colleague. And Kafka is sad about his dead friend for a
... Why take me into your confidence?
That's obvious, isn't it? We
have an opening for a new member.
After a moment's pause, Kafka stands up.
I nominated you as a possible
candidate. You were Eduard's good
friend. He read me some of your
I've hardly published enough for
anyone to draw conclusions from.
You strike me as a man with a
defined notion of injustice -- a
high concern for the lot of your
fellow men. And yet you're able to
remain an outsider. With the
concomitant air of ... superiority?
In short, a higher man. It's what
we want. It's what we need.
Kafka notices that the Bearded Anarchist has a tattoo on the
back of his hand.
The distance to my fellow man is
for me quite a journey. As for
being an outsider, it's never been
a matter of choice.
(as Kafka starts to
-- They may have instituted proceedings
Preliminary investigations may already
You were his friend. One link is
all they need.
Kafka sits down again. He tries not to be distracted by the
Solemn Anarchist who says nothing but who takes an uncommon
interest in seeing how many matches there are in the matchbox
he's been fiddling with.
The day he died, Eduard was called
up to the Castle. Did you know that?
(shakes his head)
What of it?
He was summoned to help correct a
minor discrepancy of some sort in
the Medical Records Division.
Apparently one of his claims was
-- Merely in the interests of order,
you understand. The officials at
the Castle like to cover their tracks.
He was never seen alive again.
And you still maintain -- what?
That he was murdered.
He was murdered.
A skylight casts moonglow over the proceedings.
As you can imagine, a pass into
the Castle -- hardly ever granted --
was an opportunity we couldn't
The Castle represents every
anachronism that needs to be destroyed
if progress is to be made.
As you know, it's not the most
accessible location. Far from being
depressed, Eduard was particularly
excited when he brought us the news
of this chance invitation. He set off
that evening carrying one of our
custom-made briefcases instead of
(gauging Kafka's reaction)
You're shocked at the thought of
Eduard tossing a bomb through a
I have no right to be, I know. My
experience with real life is
When you only see someone sitting at
a desk all day, it's liable to
create a false impression.
People must think the same of me --
a quiet, dependable person.
You don't have to accept everything
as true, my friend. You need only
accept it as necessary.
As the bomb never went off, we can
only assume he was caught with it --
and summarily executed.
-- Merely in the interests of order.
The formality of a trial would be too
costly for them. They're beginning
to understand that it's the ensuing
news of our actions that incites
Propaganda of the dead?
The Castle will deny he was there
any longer than his business required.
They're just file clerks up there. No
doubt he was handed over to the police
with the utmost discretion.
In any event, we've felt no
repercussions as yet. Eduard must not
have talked. You're the one they
So that's who my foes are -- policemen
and file clerks. Law and order, you
The Solemn Anarchist looks up from his matchbox.
You think what we're doing is so
wrong? And what are you doing?
Pursuing goodness? For what? To
answer to some supreme tribunal?
My only concern is the human
tribunal. Isn't it yours?
Yes -- which is why "quiet,
dependable people" have to take
charge of their own lives.
At the cost of others? You accuse
people of murder without trial --
apparently without irony. Did you
go to the Castle with Eduard?
Then you have no idea what really
might have happened that night at
all -- even before or after he got
He stands to leave again.
Your human tribunal will betray
you. Just as its members will be
betrayed when they find no supreme
Kafka starts walking away.
Join us, Kafka.
Kafka keeps on going, the anarchists growing smaller as
they're left behind in their far corner of the long attic.
It's sheer folly for anyone to
try to pull through alone.
MANIACAL LAUGHTER - BEFORE DAWN
Seeming to emanate from pitch blackness -- but then suddenly,
fast, out of a tunnel under a bridge come running three
terrified VAGRANTS, roused from slumber and scared out
their wits by the ghastly, crazed CACKLING chasing after
them, ECHOING under the arches.
They're at the river's edge, all running wildly, slipping and
stumbling, every man for himself, as they desperately try to
escape from whatever madness is closing in behind them.
Now from out of the tunnel appears their pursuer, seen only
from the back, literally shaking with insane, involuntary,
howling LAUGHTER. A horrific human hyena, far further gone
than the sad wretches he's cornered here on this foul,
moss-covered ledge in the cold wind.
Seeing him, the vagrants freeze in their various positions --
then turn in panic to flee again as he starts after them,
moving like an animal, a killer predator, laughing horribly
as he goes.
The First Vagrant, propelled by fright, manages to make a
stunning leap up a wall to grab onto some overhanging chains
and pull himself up. The Second Vagrant finds himself
trapped at the edge of the ledge -- with the Laughing Man
choosing him as the one to go after first. He turns and
jumps into the river. The Laughing Man, face still unseen,
turns toward the climbing vagrant instead -- who clambers
over the top just in time as the Laughing Man's fingernails
claw the moldy wall beneath him.
The Third Vagrant has made it to some steps, and down them --
glancing back to see the Laughing Man coming after him -- to
the small patch of muddy beach at the bottom, grey river
water lapping at his ragged shoes. He doesn't know what to
do -- he doesn't know how to swim! The Laughing Man is
running down the steps now. The Vagrant starts wading out
into the water, crying out in fear as the HOWLS behind him
come closer and closer -- he throws himself forward,
splashing vainly -- and feels the Laughing Man grabbing his
ankles, pulling him back.
The Vagrant's screams join the Laughing Man's insane giggles
as they thrash around violently in the water. The Laughing
Man drags the Vagrant back to the beach, then back up the
Steps, the Vagrant struggling helplessly, his head banging
from step to step, his hands flailing around but finding
nothing to clutch onto, his screaming going unheeded in this
lonely part of the sleeping city.
The Laughing Man drags him on, back to the slippery ledge and
along it, dragging the Vagrant on his back through a filthy
sewer alongside the wall, the Vagrant's cries choked by the
stagnant water, but continuing as the Laughing Man drags him
back into the dark tunnel, under the bridge, the two of them
disappearing into the blackness again, their combined
SHRIEKING louder than ever as it ECHOES horribly around the
damp stone, then dimming as they go deeper and further away,
unseen, until the screaming and the laughter can no longer be
KAFKA'S OFFICE - MORNING
Kafka walks toward his desk. Nearing, he sees the Assistants
laughing in lunacy between themselves. They hush up
immediately when they notice him, and are pretending to work
when he arrives. He watches them out of the corner of his
eye as he arranges himself at his chair.
How was your evening?
At this sign of sympathy they immediately scuttle their
chairs closer to him.
Fine -- terrible.
What was the matter with it?
He can't sit still. Just when we
arrive at a nightclub he wants to
go to another one.
You look tired.
Gabriela Rossman was here looking
for you. Do you know her?
We saw her naked once -- didn't we.
He elbows Ludwig violently.
Women are all you have on your
She went to the roof to sunbathe
one lunch hour -- we watched her
I didn't realize you'd been here
You mean because it's been a while
since there was a sunny day? What
a good detective you are.
They keep switching us from
department to department. He
doesn't mind because he can't sit
We used to be in the supply section,
carrying boxes of medicine about
but we dropped too many of them.
It's not too bad working here.
Kafka stands up, pleased for them in their innocence.
You don't think it's a horrible
double life from which there is
probably no escape but insanity?
The Assistants look at each other, perplexed by this
I'm glad for you.
He starts to go.
(calling after him)
You should be content, you know!
The stick-like figure of Kafka turns into the long center
aisle, walking between the endless rows of busy desks. He
sidetracks, taking a shortcut along a narrower aisle toward
the exit he's heading for. Another clerk is coming the other
way and they both at the same instant turn sideways to sidle
efficiently by one another, an almost balletic maneuver,
perfected after years of office experience, nothing more than
a short breath of air passing between them.
Kafka working his way toward Gabriela's desk -- but he stops
before he gets to it, a familiar shiver running through him.
Empty. The chair pushed squarely under it. The typewriter
Stares at it -- then at the ermine Mr. Burgel who has once
again popped up out of nowhere.
Are you looking for Gabriela
Burgel bows sarcastically to hand Kafka an envelope. Then
chuckles spitefully, obviously knowing something Kafka does
not. He walks off, leaving Kafka uneasy.
EDUARD'S LODGING HOUSE - DAY
Kafka bounds up the stairs.
The door to his room is open. Kafka goes in.
Kafka comes in. Gabriela is here, gathering up Eduard's
belongings from drawers.
(hardly glancing at
I'm collecting Eduard's things.
If there's anything you want, take
it or I'll give it to charity.
(taking her note
from his pocket)
Burgel gave me this -- what does
(now looks up)
Burgel! -- I didn't leave it with
Why were you given notice?
They're not obliged to tell.
It couldn't be for that incident
with Burgel the other day.
Of course it could -- Burgel's
been trying to get me thrown out
as long as I can remember. He
could've killed Eduard.
You don't believe that.
I wouldn't put it past him.
She's stuffed the last of the clothes into a small bag,
goes to take the few other possessions from shelves and
Kafka notices that he's standing by a dumbwaiter. For lack
of anything better to do he pulls the rope to bring it up.
It's filled with more clothes. Gabriela comes over with her
bag, holding it out for him as Kafka puts the clothes in --
but not as many clothes as they thought. Behind the bundle,
hidden at the back, is a briefcase.
Gabriela recognizes it. Kafka sees her surprised reaction.
He removes the case and carefully flips the latches. Inside,
a complex mechanism, wires connected to a clock -- and a
clump of dynamite.
Kafka just looks at it sadly. He closes the case.
It seems I knew Eduard a little
bit, after all.
GROUND FLOOR OF BUILDING
The ratty old concierge peeks up the stairs inquisitively.
In the doorway of his room, a LODGER clips his fingernails at
a little folding table, neatly lining them up. The concierge
turns and notices.
Lodgers! Not one of them thinks
to spare me such spectacles!
She slams the door on him then returns to her own apartment,
slamming that door too. The hallway is empty now.
Gabriela turns to Kafka.
You might think -- I thought so
myself at first -- that Burgel's
too insignificant to be dangerous.
But that's the very reason to beware!
It's the small men to watch out for
-- the ones who substitute method
(sighs at her
Now you've fallen into his trap.
When he goes to bed at night
Burgel dreams of inspiring as much
fear in others as they inspire in
It's still easier for you to
understand suicide, isn't it.
She's got his number. He's so in awe of her he has to turn
away -- looking out the room's small window.
That street down there -- I
always used to call it the approach
road for suicides. It leads
straight down to the bridge and
Burgel hated Eduard. And me. I'm
sure he knew about us -- and I'm
sure it drove him mad.
Burgel doesn't like anybody!
He used to like me -- very much
more than I liked him.
He's jealous, yes, but that
jealous? He's too cautious.
Gabriela clears some more items off a mantelpiece with a
Of course he is -- the Castle
precincts are not the safest part
of the city after dark. People
disappear up there regularly. If
you want to lie in wait for someone,
that's the place to do it.
Now you're saying Eduard was lured
(puts away the last
How often does one of our clerks
have business in the house of records?
I've heard of it happening.
And Burgel is the bringer of
messages, isn't he?
Putting the bag down, Gabriela goes closer to Kafka, so close
he almost cowers.
Or what if there really was an
error? -- I don't know what kind --
any kind that needed correcting --
and what if Burgel was responsible
for it? One mistake -- even a small
one in a firm like ours -- it could
cost him a promotion.
First these nameless authorities
were the root of all evil, now it's
insignificant Burgel. If indeed
there was a mistake -- and a minor
one at that -- you're suggesting
someone went to a lot of trouble
over something so trivial as to
not matter at all.
What seems important to these
people is not determined by the
amount of work it entails -- you're
far from understanding the
authorities if you believe that.
Now Burgel's one of the authorities?
She turns away from him, reddening.
For all his big talk he is. Does
he really have access to the Directors
of the firm as he always claims? --
or only the Deputy Managers -- people
of no importance whatsoever. Someone
ought to follow him for a change.
Kafka sees an opportunity to go to her, to try to calm her,
to make a timid approach to this woman.
You won't make any sense of it
while you're upset.
-- But she breaks away.
Burgel is only there for one
purpose -- to spy on the employees
and report any and all indiscretions,
real or imagined. If he didn't
send Eduard to the Castle, you can
be damn sure he's in league with
whoever greeted him there.
(very upset now)
All those bastards are in league
with each other -- why can't you
She takes hold of him as if to shake some sense into him --
but really because she needs someone to hold.
... I don't see anything. I see
a message on its way to me -- with
all the right answers. Only it
never arrives -- it's always just
on its way.
Gabriela doesn't seem to be listening. She's looking around.
the little room, as if it's someone else she's holding ...
Her head against his, Kafka tentatively touches her hair
and she pulls away, the spell broken.
Your ignorance of the way things
are here is so appalling that it
makes my head spin to listen to
you and compare what you say and
have in mind with the real situation!
She storms out, vehemently picking up her bag on the way out,
and slamming the door quakingly behind her.
Kafka is too astonished at her behavior to make a move for a
moment, then he glances at the bomb-case she's left behind,
then he goes out to the landing.
Rushing down the stairs in anger, tearing open the door at
the middle landing and slamming that one too once past it.
Following her down.
Coming down the final flight of stairs, disappearing through
the door at the bottom, slamming that one as well.
Almost caught up with her, coming down to the last door.
GROUND FLOOR HALLWAY
Kafka comes through the door from the stairs, out of breath,
and stops. He's too late. The hallway is empty. The front
door at the end of it is shut. He makes a face and a moment
later starts to go back up. Then stops again. Turns. Looks
back at the front door. ... The one he didn't hear slam.
The front door opens and Kafka steps out. He stands on the
stoop. He looks up the street one way. Deserted. He looks
down the street the other way. Deserted.
INSIDE - DAY
Kafka leads the police Inspector back along the lodging house
hallway. The two subordinate policemen follow behind.
You said she was extremely upset.
People who are extremely upset --
Kafka -- are given to disappearing
in a hurry. They go and calm down
for a day or so and then they come
They've come to the door to the stairs now.
But that's just my point -- she was
more than upset, she was livid.
She slammed every door on her way
downstairs -- except that one.
(points at front door)
I was just behind her and I didn't
even hear that one shut -- not at
That's not what I call conclusive
evidence of an abduction.
If someone was waiting here in the
hallway to spirit her away, wouldn't
they have shut the door as quietly
The Inspector stares at him. The two other policemen roll
their eyes at each other.
Kafka keeps his eye on the two policemen as they poke around,
one of them getting close to the dumbwaiter.
Why would someone want to kidnap
this woman -- the name is Rossmann?
He says it rather derisively, separating the syllables of the
You told me to contact you if
anything relevant came up --
Gabriela is relevant. When I
spoke to you before I didn't know
she'd been seeing Eduard.
That's been noted. But where
does it lead us? Unless you have
something more to add.
She's missing. I went to her house
and she hadn't returned there.
The policeman at the dumbwaiter peers down the shaft -- but
then moves on.
She lost her job today. Just
between you and me, I'd probably
go away and brood a bit myself.
He signals his men, time for them to go.
The two Policemen lead the way back down, the Inspector
behind them, Kafka remaining on the top landing.
(manages to blurt out)
Maybe it's true then what she said.
What did she say?
That the police may have allegiance
to something other than truth.
The two other policemen look at each other ominously. The
Inspector turns to them, giving them a look, and they go off
down the stairs. The Inspector plods back up to Kafka Like a
They confront each other, Kafka trying not to cringe too
baldly. Scary shadows around the bizarrely-angled stairway.
-- She didn't think Eduard
Any more than I do.
She was convinced of it.
I'm going to say something, and
I hope it's quite clear because
I won't be repeating it.
People treat Kafka like a child. And other people seem big
to him anyway. The Inspector leans his face very close.
We don't have to hunt for criminals.
We're drawn towards them. The
guilty show us the way.
He leaves Kafka alone on the top landing.
CONTINENTAL COFFEE HOUSE - NIGHT
Kafka comes in, looks around, doesn't see his friends
anywhere. But at the bar, at his usual perch, is Bizzlebek,
the coffee house habituČ.
Where are your friends?
Kafka turns and looks at him.
Good question. Who are my friends ...
would also be of interest.
Bizzlebek sits listening to Kafka's tale of woe.
(staring into steaming
Gabriela was right -- it's
easier for me to understand suicide.
I'm a practicing suicide.
-- In what sense?
Kafka stares at men and women around the coffee house --
couples, holding hands, kissing.
Bachelorhood is just the slow
form. The bachelor doesn't sew
seeds. Only the moment matters.
The space he occupies grows
smaller and smaller -- until the
only space right for him is his
These strange stories you write --
they come naturally, do they?
Naturally? -- that's not the word
I would have chosen.
Where do you get your ideas?
Only joking -- I'm just joking.
Let's go to a brothel then,
Kafka, come on.
I haven't got the energy. I
mean, I have to conserve my energy.
Why do you work in that hideous
insurance office? -- dealing with
people who fall off ladders. Now
take me -- I make my living as a
stone mason. It's not my art --
but it's the tools of my art. You
could be -- a journalist.
Kafka shakes his head sadly. He's obviously heard
That would be even worse -- it would
be a compromise.
Success or nothing?
No -- not even success. My writing
is not for making a living -- it's
for living. Not for other people,
it's for me.
He stares at a woman who reminds him slightly of Gabriela --
a sexy woman and the man with her treating her as a sexy
... I'm the exile. Gabriela was
right about that too.
CHARLIE CHAPLIN - EVENING
Being chased around a table by a big bearded man in
Watching, laughing. A great sea of grinning teeth and teary
Except one. Kafka sits grimly alone near the back. But
suddenly he's not alone -- the Bearded Anarchist has sat down
in front of him -- and now turns round, startlingly.
We have another theory.
And the Pockmarked Anarchist is suddenly sitting beside him.
We may have attached too little
importance to the reason Eduard
was summoned to the Castle to begin
And the Youthful Anarchist is behind him, thrusting his head
-- To correct a small discrepancy,
you may recall.
The Solemn Anarchist is on Kafka's other side -- but he just
watches the movie.
-- Ah, but what if it wasn't?
-- What if it was a large
Kafka's head keeps turning around as they speak.
Yours is a very powerful and important
firm -- it has a lot at stake.
Perhaps Eduard was closer than he
knew to discovering it and so had to
-- Or he was even more an innocent
victim than that -- he was chosen to
bear the blame if the crime was
uncovered by anyone else.
-- The crime so scandalous that the
poor young clerk committed suicide
rather than own up to it.
-- Oh, yes, it's mad.
The Solemn Anarchist suddenly laughs -- probably at Charlie
-- You said so yourself the firm
is large and powerful. If the
discrepancy really was something
big, Eduard's responsibility would
still have to be small. No poor
young clerk could find himself in
such a fix.
When a scapegoat is needed, my
We have to know what he was working
on at the time of his death.
He worked on routine claims. His
visit to the Castle was probably as
minor a mission as he said it was.
Why are you so aggressively
unimaginative? Eduard is no longer
the only casualty.
Then why haven't I been --
-- Kidnapped or murdered? Because
your connection with Eduard was
obvious and above board -- not as
-- Not secretive, therefore not
-- Gabriela, on the other hand, had
made an enemy of this man Burgel.
(head turning, exasperated)
Oh, Burgel! Gabriela was having an
affair with Eduard. They were both
members of this group. If any
crime's been discovered and people
are paying for it, I'd look to
The loyal civil servant. I suppose
you'll deny that shortchanging the
workers to whom compensation is due
is standard company policy.
It wouldn't surprise us if the
discrepancy was between medicines
sent and medicines received.
-- People die for such discrepancies.
Kafka's head is spinning -- and the Solemn Anarchist suddenly
looks at him.
(the hoarse voice of the
We must have a look at Eduard's
STORAGE SECTION - DAY
Kafka follows the KEEPER OF THE FILES along labyrinthine
alleys between shelves packed with files. Walls are obscured
by columns of documents tied together, piled on top of each
other. There's Hardly room to move. Stacks of files are
everywhere, balancing precariously, even falling from time to
time, from sheer Pressure in all directions.
"Raban" -- that'll be nearly at
the back of the alphabet.
It usually is.
(snaps at him)
I'm not obliged to give you access,
you know -- not without authorization --
but I'll make an exception this one
They turn down another row, walking further, turning again.
Kafka keeps flinching as thick bundles of documents CRASH
down around him, narrowly missing him.
(oblivious to the
I'm overworked as it is.
(finds the right
"Raban" did you say?
Yes. Isn't it there?
The Keeper of the Files is rifling through folders -- causing
others to fall out onto Kafka who tries to catch them.
Wait a minute. "Raban?" Where
have I heard that name?
He's the clerk who died last week.
From the insurance department
The Keeper of the files looks extremely displeased. He
pushes past Kafka, going back the way they've come.
What's the matter?
Why would we keep files on dead
employees? All old files are sent
up to the Castle. Do you think we
have room for two hundred years worth
It's gone out so quickly?
Whenever an employee departs, shall
we say, it's up to the head of his
department to requisition his file,
reassign any outstanding claims,
and send it off.
-- You mean my Chief has it.
Documents come crashing down and we can't see Kafka and the
THE CHIEF CLERK - DAY
Looks up from his desk and sticks his chin out, which is his
way of asking Kafka what the hell he wants. Kafka dares to
Excuse me, sir -- I understand
you have Eduard Raban's file.
I wonder if I might look to see
if there's an address for family
-- I thought I'd like to write
The Chief Clerk has little time for such sentimentality. He
gives Kafka a little exasperated look before reaching down to
-- a right hand desk drawer -- which Kafka notices -- and
taking out a folder.
No -- just as I thought -- no
entry for family.
Kafka nods a bit, wondering what to do now.
Was there something else?
No -- I just -- I feel a sense of
obligation. He was my friend --
if I can be of any help -- closing
(putting file away
No, there's only one report to
complete. I'll be doing it myself
and submitting it to the Castle
today or tomorrow.
(as ingenuously as
I see -- it's just the Erlanger
The Orlac claim.
Sorry, yes -- well -- thank you,
The Chief Clerk watches him as he starts to leave.
Kafka reluctantly turns.
You're too sensitive. Let your
friend rest in peace.
I've known suicides. Such a song-
and-dance about nothing.
Kafka nods once.
The Chief Clerk looks at him with seemingly genuine misguided
Give it up.
He goes back to his paperwork. Kafka leaves.
OUTSIDE CHIEF CLERK'S OFFICE
Kafka shuts the door behind him, breathes a sigh of relief.
THE KEEPER OF THE FILES - DAY
Looking very annoyed, leading Kafka back through the stacks.
If it was Accounts you wanted
why did you ask for Employees?
Orlac is an account?
It's a factory in the northern
mountains. One of our best
(as they disappear
around a corner)
Without a proper request I'm not
obliged to do this, you understand
-- but I'll make an exception on
this one occasion.
Kafka glances nervously around as shelves CREAK threateningly
under the weight of documents. Up on a ladder, the Keeper of
the Files finds the Orlac folder.
At least the account is current
even if the employee isn't.
He pulls it out -- with great difficulty. The Orlac file is
very, very thick. Kafka prepares himself to catch it, but
the Keeper of the Files manages to hand it down to him
without serious injury. Still, it's quite cumbersome and
heavier than Kafka expects.
(coming down ladder)
That place has so many accidents,
it's a good thing the type of
peasants who live up there don't
seem to have any trouble propagating
Kafka winces at that slur but says nothing about it.
(leafing through pages)
All these in the last year?
You must have read about it in the
papers -- there was a terrible
cave-in. It wouldn't have been so
bad, but even the Medical Officer
for the district was killed!
I did read that. They gave him
a posthumous medal.
Dr. Murnau was the bravest of men.
He spent an entire career in those
backwaters with no regard for
personal gain. A great loss.
(a particular document)
This is the cross-reference of
clerks who've worked on Orlac
Is your friend's name among
(Kafka shakes his
Then he only worked on the one
(taking file back
Your Chief will send me the final
summation when he's finished with
Once a file's been sent to the
Caste, is it possible to recall
it for review?
(going back up
Of course not. Only by a Director
of the firm. Who'd want to let in
all kinds of riff-raff off the
What good are records if they're
not open for public inspection?
(stuffing file back
These laws have been with us for
centuries -- how can you doubt
What if I petitioned one of the
(coming back down)
You do not summon them -- they
summon you -- and this, of course,
hardly ever happens, if at all.
The Directors are an eccentric lot
and by nature cautious.
Where do our records go to in the
(starting to walk
We're a medical firm, aren't we?
They go to the Medical Records
I could always apply there.
It so happens, my dear simple sir,
that the Head of Medical Records at
the Castle is one of the Directors
of this firm.
Kafka scowls, and follows the Keeper of the Files in silence.
THE OFFICE - EVENING
Kafka works at his desk, finger tapping at an adding machine.
He checks the office clock -- nearly the end of the day.
One is sweeping the floor. The other is scribbling at their
desk. His pen blotches his paper. He has a fit and crumples
it up and throws it down.
Looks over at the Chief Clerk's office -- sees him writing
intently at his desk, pausing to turn on a lamp.
The sweeping one bangs his knee against a desk and starts
hopping about. The pen of the other one leaks again. He
crumples up his new sheet and flings it away even more
angrily than before. Then he examines his pen, determines
that the cap at the back is loose, and starts banging it on
his desk in an attempt to tighten it -- while the other
assistant keeps jumping around holding his hurt kneecap.
Glances over his shoulder at them, starts to say something --
but then notices Burgel, not far away, sometimes blocked by
other employees, walking in the direction of the Chief
The one assistant has just fixed his pen when the other one,
still hopping around, bumps into him, causing him to knock
over a bottle of ink. The two of them start shoving each
Kafka whirls around, can't ignore them any longer.
Do you mind!
The Assistants look at him, surprised at this outburst.
-- I was just trying to finish
You mean you've actually begun
(pointing at Oskar)
-- Just because he's done nothing
today, he doesn't want me to show
Oskar tries to lunge at Ludwig, but Kafka holds him back.
My assistants! You might as well
have fallen from the sky for all
the thought that was spent in
The Assistants look at each other sheepishly. Then smile at
Kafka, submissively or mockingly, it's hard to tell.
It's not our fault. We're
And we're upset too.
What's the matter with you?
I can't make a simple statement
without him taking issue with it
-- You should meet my father.
We've been together too long. His
personality is overflowing into
mine and vice versa.
-- How would you like to be in a
horrible situation like that?
He wouldn't. It's the nightmare of his life.
But now he's distracted again -- noticing Burgel walking away
from the Chief Clerk's office (without ever having seem him
actually enter it). And Burgel is carrying a parcel under
(to Assistants again)
All right, you might as well go
home -- go on.
The Assistants do as they're told, Oskar returning to his
desk to clear up, turning his back on Ludwig -- at which
Ludwig immediately rushes up very close behind him and shakes
his fist strenuously at him, turning away quickly when Oskar
turns around again to try and catch Ludwig at it.
Kafka isn't paying them any attention anymore. He
efficiently cleans up his own space, keeping an eye on the
Chief Clerk's office.
When the office bell RINGS the Chief Clerk immediately turns
off his desk lamp, puts on his overcoat, and shuts his office
light on his way out.
Kafka doesn't think twice. He forces himself to start
walking to the Chief Clerk's office. Other departing office
employees crisscross past him, but he walks in a straight
line, businesslike, toward the Chief Clerk's office. He has
a piece of paper in his hand. He enters the Chief Clerk's
office, holds the paper out to drop on the Chief Clerk's desk
-- but lets it slip off onto the floor. When he bends to
retrieve it he quickly opens that bottom drawer where
Eduard's file was -- but it's now empty.
DARK STREET - EVENING
Burgel walks along, adjusting the parcel under his arm.
ACROSS THE RIVER
Burgel heads into the Old Town.
Pauses in some shadows. He glances up at the distance, the
way Burgel is going, up at --
Almost glowing as it's outlined against the blue of the
Giving Kafka the eye as he goes past doorway after doorway
filled with their frightening/tempting forms. But he tries
never to lose focus on the small form of Burgel further up
Men milling about, up and down the street, prostitutes
roaming amongst them, Kafka negotiating his way through. An
urgent moment when he almost loses Burgel -- then sees him
turning down an alley. Kafka hurries after him, avoiding a
pair of drunken louts in the way.
The Castle visible, but still a little in the distance.
Kafka comes into view. He sees Burgel entering a building.
Very dingy. Burgel leaves the top of the stairs and walks
down to a room at the end.
Kafka waits momentarily at the bottom, then goes up.
Peeking around the corner, he sees a YOUNG GIRL embracing
Burgel in her doorway before letting him in.
Kafka comes out of the building. He hears a noise, turns
around, sees Burgel and the girl on the tiny baroque balcony
outside her room. Kafka retreats into the shadows. He
watches the girl unwrap the parcel Burgel's given her. She
smiles as a box of chocolates is revealed.
Watches -- with an expression of guilt, sadness?
Until a door suddenly opens at his back. A MAN shuffles out
past him. A rather ugly WOMAN in a dressing gown holds the
door open, giving Kafka a cursory look. Beyond her inside, a
quick glimpse of MASOCHIST yelping as he's whipped.
Well, what're you waiting for?
She's nodding him inside. Kafka backs away from her and her
DIRTY YARD - NIGHT
Kafka heads for the dilapidated building or the anarchists.
He goes through. A MOUSE scurries past him across the
THE LOPSIDED STAIRWAY
Leads him up to the attic.
THE BEARDED ANARCHIST
Watches Kafka's approach. But sees nothing. His eyes are
wide open, but lifeless.
Kafka stops at the anarchists' table. They're all lying
around it on the floor except for the Pockmarked Anarchist
who's slumped over it, her face sunk in a pool of her own
The Youthful Anarchist lies on his back, mouth open, still
dribbling red. The Solemn Anarchist seems less than solemn
due to the almost comic, convoluted, broken-backed position
he's in. And the neck of the Bearded Anarchist is all
Kafka just stares in disbelief -- then SCRATCH! -- a noise
from a spiral staircase close by, leading to the roof. Kafka
looks around in panic -- the attic entrance is too far to run
to and there's nowhere else to hide.
THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE
A man appears from above (MR. PICK). Legs draped in
expensive trousers, the skirt of his high-buttoned coat
flowing around them due to the breeze from the roof.
MR. PICK'S VOICE
-- Come on -- there's no one up
there. We're going now.
He raises his arm up to help down whoever it is he's talking
to. We hear a strange GROAN. Followed by the appearance --
unclear, from the back, face hidden, or otherwise blocked by
Mr. Pick -- of A STRANGE hunched figure. He moves in a
halting, cowering way. Mr. Pick helps him down the steps.
That's it -- it's all right --
you've done very well.
Mr. Pick's voice is reassuring, though he has a dark,
diabolic face. They're at the bottom of the staircase now,
Mr. Pick leading his odd companion toward the exit. The odd
companion lurches towards the dead anarchists, but Mr. Pick
Never mind them -- they'll be
Pretending to be one of the dead anarchists. Hiding under
the large body of the Bearded Anarchist. Trying hard to
emulate his lack of movement. Blood from the Bearded
Anarchist's ear drips onto Kafka's face. He tries to blink
it away while his other eye remains fixed on the two figures
walking away to the doorway until they're through it and
After a moment, he unloads the Bearded Anarchist and softly
hurries over to the attic doorway.
The Strange Man utters another low moan as Mr. Pick leads him
like a dog down the creaking old steps.
Comes cautiously out onto the landing. He leans over the
bannister, watching the two figures slowly going down the
long stairs, vanishing from sight at a certain turn of the
staircase on every floor and coming into view after a moment
Mr. Pick and the Strange One walk away.
Follows at a respectable distance. He pauses when he hears a
WAGON -- looking back at the anarchists' building to see it
pulling up outside. The DRIVER jumps to the ground.
Kafka looks from the wagon to the two men walking away in the
distance and makes his choice -- continuing after the two
THE QUARRIES - NIGHT
On the outskirts of the city, beyond the Castle.
Mr. Pick and the Strange Man approach. Some distance behind
them, Kafka takes cover behind a tree, watching.
Mr. Pick leads the Strange Man down the central quarry to
where a third man, a LABORER by the look of him, is waiting.
Kafka finds a vantage point somewhere above the central
quarry. He flattens himself on the ground and peers over the
In the quarry, Mr. Pick steps back a pace from the Strange
Man as they meet up with the Laborer and suddenly grabs the
Strange Man, pinning his arms behind him, baring his chest
or the Laborer to stab a dagger into!
Kafka is shocked by the abruptness of this. He sees the
Strange Man slump to the ground. He crawls a little closer.
He sees the Laborer replace the knife in its sheath on his
belt, then help Mr. Pick drag the Strange Man off to some
side shadows where they dump him.
Kafka strains forward a little, trying to make out their
faces -- and the ground gives way!
MR. PICK AND THE LABORER
Spin around at the noise.
Lands at the bottom of the incline, dazed. He's still quite
far away from the other end of the quarry where they are.
MR. PICK AND THE LABORER
Look at each other once -- then go after the intruder.
Sees them coming. Scrambles to his feet. It takes him a
split second to establish his options. Namely, the best
route is back up the way he came. If only he can get up it
again as fast.
Mr. Pick and the Laborer start to run.
Kafka starts to climb. The incline is steep. The gravel is
loose. He slips back down.
Mr. Pick and the Laborer are gaining speed.
Kafka digs his fingers into the dirt, pulling himself up with
all his might, even though his shoes don't sustain holds.
Mr. Pick is a better runner than the burly Laborer. He's
Kafka slips back down again. Mr. Pick could almost grab him
-- but Kafka literally throws himself up the slope again,
gasping -- and Mr. Pick stretches but can't reach that far
and Kafka's nearly at the top again -- Mr. Pick climbing
after him now -- and Kafka's arm comes over the edge, he
struggles over, kicking gravel back down in Mr. Pick's face.
Mr. Pick slides back down to the bottom -- and Kafka's gone.
The Laborer fell over Mr. Pick as he came crashing back down,
now Mr. Pick pushes him off in one direction while he goes
Escaping back into the Old Quarter, Kafka runs downhill. But
even the momentum doesn't carry him as fast as he'd like.
A number of streets branching off. Kafka sees Mr. Pick
coming down one of them -- and the Laborer coming down
another. Kafka runs off along a third.
Kafka runs. Looks behind him. Mr. Pick is coming. He runs
faster, under a weird archway. Looks behind him. Mr. Pick
and the Laborer are coming. Kafka darts down a side street.
Another twisting little road. He winds around one corner
only to be met by another, the end of this street impossible
Mr. Pick and the Laborer are catching up.
Turns another corner and finds himself at the bottom of an
incredibly long flight of steps. A staired street. On and
on and on. He doesn't know if he can make it.
MR. PICK AND THE LABORER
Come around -- look at the steps -- look at each other. They
take deep breaths and start up.
Here they come, huffing and puffing.
Kafka comes out from behind an extravagantly designed iron
gate grillwork. He sneaks away, back the way he came.
THE CENTRAL QUARRY
The body of the Strange Man lies face down where it was
Kafka walks toward it, looking around nervously in case
anyone's coming. Someone is. When he gets to the corpse he
hears the sound of an approaching WAGON. He crouches quickly
by the body to do what he's come here to do -- turn it over
to look at --
Of a monster. Horribly disfigured, scarred and stitched.
And it isn't the kind of patchwork mess caused by acid or
accident. There seems to be design behind it. Human
design. And beneath all this warped, mutilated flesh, almost
unrecognizable ... the features of the vagrant snatched from
Revulsion. He goes.
Parks above the quarry. The evil-looking Driver jumps down
and pulls a large sack off the back. He starts down into the
Appears over another edge. He looks over at the wagon. He
sees that now the back is loaded up, and covered by a sheet
THE ANARCHISTS' ATTIC - NIGHT
All the bodies are gone. Even the floorboards and pieces of
furniture that might have had blood stains on them have been
torn away and removed. Kafka stands alone.
THE CITY - NIGHT
An eerie moon shines over the Castle.
He comes in. Before taking off his coat, he finds in a
pocket Inspector Grubach's card. But what can he do again
without evidence? He puts the card back in the pocket.
KAFKA'S DESK - BEFORE DAWN
He sits writing into the night in his little room under a low
"-- oh, and thank you for the suit
from Father, although I don't know
why he didn't simply return it. If
it's too small for him why do you
immediately suppose it will fit me?
... Your son ... Your loving son ...
Your somewhat loving son ... Your
occasionally loving son ... Your
incapable-of-loving son ... Your
kind-of-family-life son ..."
The BARKING of a DOG outside distracts him. He stands up to
stretch by his open window -- and we SEE that he's wearing a
suit that's far too big for him, sleeves overhanging his
skinny arms and ands, trouser bottoms drowning his shoes.
He looks out at the sky which is turning blue.
Two men walk across the river.
Rolls along one of the moribund streets of the Old Town. The
Driver swivels in his seat, looking over his wide shoulder,
as if to see if he's being followed. The glint in his eye
Kafka puts a stamp on his letter, then adds it to the stack
of obsessive correspondence already piled on one corner of
THE OFFICE - EVENING
With an ink-pad stamp, Kafka POUNDS the date onto a
succession of documents.
THE OFFICE CLOCK
Jump in unison when the BELL goes off. Then in their hurry
to leave start shoving all their papers and whatnots
haphazardly into various drawers, opening and slamming them
regardless of whether or not the contents are fully inside,
resulting in a lot of crumpled documents and snapped pencils.
Suddenly hovering by Kafka's side, handing him something.
The Chief Clerk would like this
ready for tomorrow morning.
He says it should only take you
an extra hour or two.
THE OFFICE - NIGHT
Dead silence after the daily racket of typewriters and
telephones and adding machines. Kafka works alone in the
utterly deserted office building.
He looks out the window and sees a POLICEMAN walking by on
the street below. He thinks again about going to the law --
but goes back to work.
He hears a SOUND. He looks around. A sort of a SCRATCHING
sound. It's coming from the other end of the office
somewhere. Maybe the bathroom.
Kafka walks slowly back there. At the bathroom door he
pauses momentarily, then turns the handle to go inside.
SCRATCH, SCRATCH. Kafka looks for the source of the sound --
and in sudden startled shock instantly finds it -- where a
huge arm has just been thrust through a small, high window --
and the ugly hand at the end of the arm is feeling around for
Kafka starts backing away -- as the hand flips open the latch
-- and now the window, swinging open with a bang, and the
rest of the intruder starts coming into view -- out before
all of him appears Kafka has run out and slammed the door
Kafka pulls a desk across the bathroom doorway.
The MANIAC -- because that's what his posture and breathing,
seen from the back, suggest -- lurches into the bathroom from
Kafka grabs his coat -- and an umbrella off a rack. He looks
back at the bathroom -- the desk rocking back and forth as
the intruder behind the door pushes. Kafka runs away.
He runs to the elevator, sliding open the gate.
CRASH! The desk tips over as the bathroom door is forced
Kafka descending. The elevator cranking slowly downwards.
Then, nearing the ground floor, it slows down even further.
Then it suddenly stops dead. Kafka reaches for the walls to
steady himself. He looks through the gate, assessing the
distance to the ground floor below. He tries the gate but it
(calls down there)
-- Help! HELP!
He looks around the tiny space of the elevator. The roof
hatch. He reaches up, pushes it open, starts to climb up --
and YAAHH! -- the Maniac's face appears in the opening! It's
another monster face -- this one even worse than the one
Kafka uncovered at the quarries. A groaning, drooling,
misshapen lump of wrinkled tissue. And its owner's arms now
come through to stretch after Kafka.
Kafka beats them back with the umbrella while still trying to
pull the unyielding gate open. The Maniac yelps as Kafka
bashes the umbrella up at him, dodging his head out of the
way each time the umbrella sweeps back at him, swinging his
thick arms wildly to ward off blows and try and snatch the
umbrella for himself. He finally retreats under the barrage
of blows and Kafka quickly takes the opportunity to lever
open the gate with the umbrella.
The Maniac's face reappears overhead. Kafka stabs the
umbrella up at him some more -- and the Maniac manages to
grab it. Kafka sits down on the elevator edge to jump down
to the ground floor and --
Lunges forward from above, scooping both arms down in a vain
attempt to catch Kafka just as he drops out of sight --
landing on the ground floor with a roll.
The Maniac HOWLS at his failure, his features even more
horribly contorted, Practically filling the small opening of
the roof hatch as he SHRIEKS. And as his atrocious face
comes CLOSER and CLOSER and CLOSER -- one of his eyeballs
falls out! -- POP! -- out of the socket suddenly -- dangling
into the elevator, hanging by a single sinewy bloody thread.
The Maniac cries out and reaches for the eyeball, bringing it
back up to try and stuff back in place ...
Kafka runs away from the office building, in horror, off into
KAFKA'S STREET - NIGHT
He stands at a corner, looking at his own house, scared even
to go home. But everything seems normal. He starts walking
there. But when he reaches his front door:
Did you think you'd be safe back
in your little burrow?
Kafka turns. One of the Assistants stands next to him.
No matter how deep a hole you dig
for yourself, the beast will always
Kafka turns the other way. The other Assistant is on his
other side. Kafka looks between the two of them.
We're to take you to the Castle.
Kafka might have expected this.
So. You're the guides up there.
And we thought it was Burgel.
One of the Assistants draws a revolver. The other chuckles.
They wouldn't let Burgel into
the Castle. You should look upon
this as a great favor.
Kafka starts walking the way a flick of the revolver
indicates, the Assistants flanking him.
I don't want any favors from
the Castle -- just my rights.
We answer directly to Ekman, the
Senior Partner -- he practically
runs the Castle. In a case like
this you're better off dealing with
the highest authority -- even
though it's equally futile.
When you speak to him you have to
lean quite near his right ear
because the left doesn't work so
AROUND THE CORNER
They head up in the direction of the Castle.
For all your incompetence I was
beginning to think you were at
least loyal to me. You're very
good ham actors.
-- Just doing our job.
It's a farce.
We think you'd better accept your
position instead of pointlessly
What position? Being prosecuted
in a case like this means having
already lost it.
Still, we're probably closer to you
at the moment than any of your
fellow human beings.
Close only by virtue of antithesis.
One of the Assistants keeps making a show of wiping his brow,
though it's by no means hot.
Kafka walks stiffly between the Assistants, the three of them
almost locked together as one unit, like lifeless matter.
(shaking his head)
My assistants. I should have known.
Nothing is given to me. I have to
It's all right to be sarcastic in
private to us -- because we have a
sense of humor -- but when we're up
at the Castle we suggest you don't
make a fuss. It would spoil the
not unfavorable impression you make
in other respects.
Frankly, we don't understand why
you've even bothered pursuing this
It would be more accurate to say
that it has pursued me.
But your goal is so hard to reach.
Do you think the official network
would surrender to one man? We
would never think of attempting
anything remotely as difficult.
My mother used to tell us of the
young man who decided to ride to
the next village and how she was
afraid that -- not even mentioning
accidents -- the span of a normal
happy life might fall far short of
the time needed for such a trip.
Kafka suddenly points at the ground.
You've dropped some money.
The Assistants immediately bend their heads to look -- and
Kafka bangs them together as hard as he can.
The Assistants sit on the ground in a stupefied daze while
Kafka's running footsteps echo around the dark street.
CONTINENTAL COFFEE HOUSE - NIGHT
Bizzlebek, perched on his usual stool, turns to see Kafka at
You work in the cemetery.
A man must eat --
The Castle cemetery.
CEMETERY - NIGHT
Ancient tombstones crumbling with age, slanting out of the
ground at bizarre angles, and cluttered so close together
that a way can scarcely be made between them.
Bizzlebek leads Kafka along the crooked little pathways,
overgrown with crawling weeds, upwards towards the high
section of the cemetery under the dark wall of the Castle.
Bizzlebek, who knows his way around, seems more cheerful here
than we've seen him before. Kafka more fearful. Wind
WHISTLES. Leaves RUSTLE. CREAKING trees cast ghastly
shadows. Scary tombs, all shapes and sizes, strange symbolic
symbols on them, mystical figures and designs.
Trying to keep up with Bizzlebek, Kafka spots a horrendous
shape looming ahead of him. He starts to bypass it -- and
jumps when a tall plant brushes against him.
(waits for Kafka)
Are you sure you wouldn't prefer
going through official channels?
The awful dark shape turns out to be no more than a
particularly large tombstone, crumbled in places to give it
an animal-like suggestion.
Official channels -- a lot of good
they've done me. My only hope is
to approach the officials personally.
He keeps walking -- and we SEE that he's carrying the bomb-
briefcase he found at Eduard's.
-- I'm flattered, of course, to be
considered a friend -- even without
knowing all the details.
(Kafka doesn't take
-- To see such determination is
reward enough for me.
The Kafka men are famous for it,
you know. Delivering meat barefoot
in the depths of winter, picking up
sacks of flour with their teeth --
A BIRD rapidly swoops down from a tree, zipping past Kafka's
head with a shrieking SQUAWK!
-- Oh, yes, determination runs in
There is one thing I'd like you
to tell me.
I'm trying to find things out myself
-- that's the whole point.
What made you think I'd be able to
get you into the Castle?
The cemetery is nearer the Castle
than anywhere else -- wasn't it part
of the Castle originally? -- I
always assumed there'd be a gate or
(stops again, concerned)
In a manner of speaking.
HIGHER GROUND - NIGHT
They're at the graves at the very back of the cemetery, right
up against the bottom of the Castle wall that stretches high
above them into the black sky of night.
Trees quiver around them. Shadows dance. Bizzlebek pauses
at a particular grave, apart from the others, more hidden by
overgrowth. He runs his fingertips over the old, strangely
lettered inscription. He looks around the graveyard, making
sure they're alone, then he moves to one side of the stone
and leans his weight against it, pushing. It shifts and
slides open, uncovering the hole that lies beneath.
I was restoring some stones here
in the upper section one day --
and I found this.
An empty tomb?
A cenotaph -- a monument to someone
whose remains ended up elsewhere.
But look --
Having lit the lantern he's brought with him, he holds it
over the dark hole -- revealing a shaft and the rungs of a
The Castle gates were blockaded
in the time of the great plague --
it's an escape route.
(offers Kafka the
Don't get stuck.
Not a chance. I'm the thinnest
person I know.
Kafka starts to climb down, shoes loud on the rungs affixed
to the stone wall of this well. But then he remembers
something, pops back up.
-- You appreciate my writing.
Will you do me a favor then?
If I don't see you later -- go
to my house and find my notebooks --
and destroy them. All my
manuscripts -- just burn them.
What an extraordinary request!
It's my last and final one.
Then its authority is in doubt.
A true friend would do it.
(a pointed look)
A wife would.
SECRET PASSAGEWAY - NIGHT
A stooping Kafka makes his way along this gloomy underground
artery, the lantern lighting the way.
He comes to the end of it and what appears to be a little
door. He bends low to listen at it -- then unlocks the
latch. He pushes -- and the door moves forward.
Kafka stands up -- and he's inside a big filing cabinet
He steps out of it and looks around. He's in an entire room
full of file cabinet drawers. A morgue of file cabinet
drawers. He shuts the one he came out of before walking
away. "D-7" says the label on the outside of it.
VAULTS AND CRYPTS
Kafka makes his way through the shadows down here in the
underground depths of the Castle. A fiery glow and noise
comes from an archway ahead of him. When he gets to it and
looks through he sees a sweating STOKER shoveling coal into a
NEAR THE END OF A THIN PASSAGEWAY
A sudden door SLAM. Kafka dodges back around a corner. He
HEARS: the quick cry of a man's agony, a scuffle of shoes on
hard stone floor, a dull thud, a wave of peculiar shouts,
running footsteps, more mumbled mingled voices -- which soon
die out, leaving silence.
AROUND THE CORNER
Kafka walks slowly, straining his neck a bit in expectation
of whatever lies ahead.
The passage brings him to a row of dungeon cells. A line of
doors with a barred window in each. One of them isn't closed
-- and lying across the threshold is the Laborer who chased
Kafka from the quarries the other night. The knife is gone
from his sheath and his scull is caved in, a wooden stool
lying on the floor beside him. At the other end of the row
of cells another door swings open at the top of a few steps.
SUDDENLY fingers spear through the bars of another cell to
touch Kafka! A GAUNT MAN inside.
You've killed him! Like a dog!
Kafka dropped his lantern in surprise, and shrinks back,
-- They won't like that. Not a bit!
I didn't --
The inhabitants of the other cells start RATTLING their bars
and beseeching Kafka. He looks around, bewildered and
horrified. Hideous faces looking back at him.
You'll incriminate the rest of us!
Let me out too!
Shuddering, Kafka is moving away, making it through the
shocking gauntlet, toward the door at the other end.
Help us! -- release us!
(yelling above the din)
You're in the bowels now, my friend!
You've thrown yourself in it now!
A HAGGARD MAN who may have had his tongue cut out gestures
desperately at a lever on the wall to unlock the cells.
Kafka starts to tentatively reach for it -- when there's a
sudden SHRIEK beside him. He whirls to see, behind more
bars, the raving, convoluted face of the creature that
stalked him at his office (whose loose eye has now gone
completely) -- BANGING violently against his door.
Let me out -- I'm all right -- they
haven't treated me yet! We can go
But now the evil Mr. Pick appears at the end of the passage
from which Kafka came -- a gun in his hand.
Kafka yanks the lever and runs away. Mr. Pick FIRES after
him, starting to chase -- but the prisoners are coming out of
their cells -- coming for him.
SPIRAL STONE STAIRWELL
Kafka runs upwards, around and around and around.
Here is a part of the Castle Kafka can understand -- office
workers toiling away. Kafka walks past one long row of them,
SCRIBES sitting at a single endless desk. They look like
students under examination, hunched over their writing, a
virtual conveyor belt of paperwork.
In the center of this floor is an actual conveyor -- a chain
pulley running slowly up and down, presumably throughout the
entire Castle, through small holes in the floor and ceiling.
There are little pockets on the chain which the clerks
continually pluck papers out of and slip papers into.
The ink bottle of one of the scribes runs dry. He takes it
over to a sink with three taps -- Hot, Cold -- and the third
one he turns -- Ink.
Kafka passes a FRIENDLY CLERK.
Are you lost?
Kafka nearly laughs at the enormity of the question.
I'm, uh, looking for the
Medical Records Section.
Oh, you're miles away. From here
you'll want to go left, left again,
right, right again, left then right,
right then left, and take the Blue
(going on his way)
-- I haven't seen you here before.
He stands there, a man in a suit with a briefcase in an
... I'm new.
Mr. Pick leans against a door, trying to keep back the
howling horde of prisoners pushing from the other side.
Another JAILER joins him, helping him to try and push the
door closed. Then a SECOND JAILER too. A bestial hand
reaches through and Mr. Pick presses his pistol muzzle into
the outstretched palm --
-- A book falls to the floor like a pistol-shot -- and
Kafka hides back in shadows hoping no one heard. He's in a
-- Surrounded by books from floor to ceiling, even on the
tall door through which he entered. A sliver of light gives
it away -- and on the other side of it he hears FOOTSTEPS.
But they pass by.
There's another sliver of light indicating another door in
the books opposite him. He walks over and pulls on the
shelves. Here the dark wood is merely a disguising cover for
the shiny modern steel he discovers on the other side of it
And he finds more than that as he enters --
A real mad scientist's workshop. Chemicals of bizarre colors
rush and FIZZ through mazes of glass pipes and beakers, in
some places boiling and steaming, in others frosting or
freezing. Circuits and test tubes flash and glow as sparks
and filamentary arcs CRACKLE with electric incandescence.
insane instruments and devices, interconnected with complex
wires, perform strange and villainous functions. It's the
most modern setting we've yet seen -- but at the same time
all this futuristic technology seems somehow archaic, as if
put together from old, familiar materials and elements, both
eccentric and eclectic.
The chain that runs through the floors of the Castle carrying
documents runs up and down through the laboratory too.
Amidst this feast for the eyes, what Kafka now focuses in on
a simple cigarette -- left smoking in an ashtray. And by
the look of the ash, not very long ago. Kafka looks around
anxiously -- notices an archway leading to another room.
Mr Pick and the two Jailers can't hold back the dreadful
prisoners any longer. Mr. Pick runs, letting the Jailers
fend for themselves.
LABORATORY - SMALLER ROOM
Kafka comes into what looks like a small museum -- vertical
glass cases in which naked BODIES float suspended in
preserving gelatin solution.
Kafka seems deadened himself by all that he's seeing -- until
he sees someone he recognizes. The Bearded Anarchist. Kafka
goes closer. Looking down, he sees that the Bearded
Anarchist has a hand missing. The other anarchists are here
in glass cases too. Now with a gasp Kafka turns around --
looking for Gabriela -- but she's not here.
Holding himself together, and with new determination etched
on his face, Kafka walks to the center of the lab -- and an
operating table. Ignoring the implications of the table, he
sets down the bomb-briefcase -- flicking the latches to open
The sight of the explosive mechanism inside causes him a
moment's hesitation, but a look round at various animal parts
hanging from hooks above the table or bobbing in jars
alongside sinister implements laid out in preparation for an
operation renews his anger -- and he decisively turns the
dial on the bomb's timer-clock, setting it to the maximum
allowance of one hour.
He closes the case and locks its latches. The case begins to
Kafka takes it to a dark spot beneath the mass of elaborate
laboratory equipment, hides it under there, and leaves.
Kafka tries finding his way back the way he came.
END OF CORRIDOR
Kafka looks down a long dark staircase -- a hint of light
glowing at the bottom.
BOTTOM OF STAIRCASE
Just as he reaches the light something lunges at him from one
side! It's the Laughing Man, hysterical as ever, face now
SEEN for the first time, SCREECHING, salivating, eyes
watering. The human hyena. His grin contorts his face from
ear to ear, his CACKLING is truly terrifying, and the hand he
stretches forward has a tattoo on it (Bearded Anarchist's
hand) -- a hand too big for his wrist -- reaching, reaching,
reaching for Kafka.
DARK OFFICE - NIGHT
The Laughing Man pushes Kafka down into a chair and shakes
with uncontrollable sobbing shrieks.
Someone else is sitting in darkness behind a huge desk
(MURNAU). His hand holds out a small vial. The Laughing Man
grabs it and leaves, gulping down its contents voraciously.
I assume you're wondering ... what
all this has been about.
Kafka tries to see into the shadows.
Are you the Head of Medical
The door behind Kafka opens again and an officious bureaucrat
(EKMAN) comes in. He sits in a chair and looks at Kafka.
He's come on his own initiative.
-- Not something we encourage, mind
you, but we like to know it exists.
And he's stood up.
What it amounts to is simply this ...
He's coming around the desk. He's drying his hands on a
A piece of paper was delivered to
the wrong clerk. It was essential
he bring it back to us. These
complications have arisen because he
had friends -- like you, among
others -- friends unlikely to let a
sleeping dog lie.
He tosses the towel onto the desk. Ekman looks irritated by
... A piece of paper ...
A mere slip.
Your friend Mr. Raban dealt only
with claims that came in, another
department being responsible for
compensation that goes out -- this
He places a fatherly hand on Kafka's shoulder.
(not quite in the
Through a very unfortunate -- and
I might add extremely rare --
mishap, a document intended for
the one department was sent to
the other. And for the first
time -- though your friend
wasn't aware of it -- two and
two could have been put together
to make one.
... A piece of paper ...
(face bending into
You see, Kafka, in all cases
relating to the factory at
Orlac -- which is what this
paper referred to -- the
authority that puts in a
request and the authority that
grants it is, to all intents
and purposes, the same authority.
And he's an impressive, imposing figure of authority
himself. You'd probably trust him. You'd certainly respect
him. But if you look into his eyes, he's frightening.
Mr. Pick runs from the crazed prisoners chasing him. Fires
his gun back at them, dropping one or two -- but then runs
out of bullets.
The prisoners slowly surround him. He backs away. One of
those chains that run throughout the Castle has its base
here. Mr. Pick keeps backing up, unavoidably, the deranged
prisoners closing in -- until he falls backwards with a cry
into the grinding wheels of the chain-system.
Caught up in the chain, he's carried aloft with it, up to the
ceiling. The chain is the lifeline of the Castle and does
not, could not, ever stop. Instead it forces Mr. Pick to go
along with it, his head CRACKING through the glass or wood
"manhole" cover through which the chain passes.
Kafka tries not to flinch in the presence of this deadly
-- You seem amused.
It only amuses me in that
it gives me an insight into
the ludicrous bungling that
in some circumstances may
decide the life of a human being.
Ekman sighs -- as if at a difficult child.
It's merely a matter of
expediency. It's imperative
that my room to maneuver not
be hindered by ... bureaucratic
Ekman, who doesn't hear very well, directs one ear in
particular back and forth between the other two. Kafka just
keeps looking at the charismatic man pacing around him --
who's now lighting an expensive cigarette of the kind that
was in the ashtray at the lab.
-- If an obscure official up
there in the distant mountains
so far away from civilizing
influences happens to meet
with an unfortunate accident
-- and should he tragically die
in spite of the District Medical
Officer's strenuous efforts to
save him -- the firm wants to
see the next of kin pacified
and the disposition of the
remains handled with the
greatest possible ... efficiency.
"Accident and Compensation" --
no one can accuse the firm of
not supplying exactly what it
I believe we've exceeded his
I had the grandest of financial
plots in mind, the most
malevolent of personal motives,
conspiracy theories extending
to every ... authority I could
And I find you. A body snatcher.
Life is more than a Chinese
puzzle, my friend.
FLOOR OF CLERKS
Uniformly, like a chorus line, the infinite row of clerks
turn their heads from their single endless desk when they
hear an awful NOISE:
Mr. Pick is breaking through from the floor below. The
inexorably rising chain has hauled him floor by floor through
the Castle, breaking open holes too small for his body,
shredding him along the way, and still carrying him upwards
Kafka walks along with Murnau and Ekman. The Laughing Man
holds Kafka's arm.
And I suppose Dr. Murnau didn't
die in a cave-in. You killed
him to free the Position of
Orlac Medical Officer for your
Yes, well -- we're looking for
a new village now. If we stay
too long at one source ... people
They pass another of those grinding chains carrying memos and
inter-office directives up and down.
But you're quite right that
he didn't die in that cave-in.
In fact, he didn't die at all.
He was simply recalled -- by
himself. As well as being Head
of Medical Records here and a
Director of your firm -- I'm
Dr. Murnau, of course.
The Laughing Man giggles crazily.
The Laughing Man, subdued for a moment, merely smiles a
little, opening the door to let Kafka in first, guarding him
close. Dr. Murnau then leads the way across to his
May I ask where your two
Lying in the gutter where
Murnau laughs, but then has to stop as it encourages the
Laughing Man, bringing forth a mad chuckle or two from him.
Pity. They're an amusing pair,
didn't you find? Absolute
He pushes the tall door open into his lab.
Murnau spreads his hands proudly as they enter, displaying
his amazing factory.
I so rarely get the chance of
showing my work to anybody --
anybody capable of appreciating
it, that is. You might say I'm
a student of human reaction.
Ekman, who's seen it all before, goes to lean somewhere,
The fact that it's live bodies
you practice your trade on
doesn't seem to matter to you.
On the contrary, it matters a
great deal. We're engaged in
immensely important research
here. I'm a revolutionary
too, you know -- but a much
more pragmatic one.
As if in response to that the Laughing Man convulses anew.
Ekman immediately turns to a shelf for another vial and goes
to give it to the Laughing Man.
-- I can't very well administer
experimental treatments to
corpses -- and if they become
corpses, why, they have their
uses too -- that's why speed is
essential. Living tissue, even
if its owner has passed on, is
our most valuable acquisition.
The Laughing Man gulps down the potion and starts to calm
down a little.
We've tried transfusions on
our ... volunteers. Unfortunately,
far from infusing superior
characteristics it's tended to
make them insane -- murderous
even -- a condition we've had
occasion to make use of.
THE HIDDEN BOMB-CASE
TICKING lightly away. The clock inside the bomb-case,
becoming visible as if by X-Ray, is SEEN to be a matter of
minutes away from blast-off.
Murnau walks to where the elaborate distillation processes
are going on. The very section where Kafka hid the bomb.
Kafka wipes his brow, quickly, conscious of Ekman staring at
him. Murnau gazes obsessively at his contraptions, his
piercing eyes following the routes of the flowing chemicals.
-- And the new patients they
bring me aren't usually as
dexterous as you've been in
evading us. Not perfect
specimens by any means, but
not the type of person who'll
be missed either.
What have you done with
As a matter of fact you've
caught us in a state of
considerable excitement. Our
latest preparation we believe
-- we pray -- is perfected.
It should take years off her.
He's concocting another potion now, pouring an acidic-looking
liquid from one container to another. Kafka is looking
And if not -- well, there are
always what I call my caprices
He glances at the dangling animal parts. And now, finished
mixing his cocktail, he picks up some sort of suturing tool,
pressing the trigger on it to start the end burning and
Actually, if it weren't for
the aberrant dilemma posed by
someone like yourself --
continually asking for out-of-date
files -- I'd probably give up my
revisionist policies altogether.
I'm sure what we have to do is
start instead at the very
inception -- with the embryo --
from a single cell even.
(leers at Kafka)
The lure of the Golem -- the
man-made man. You appreciate
that, I know.
Ekman takes Kafka by the arm to lead him toward the operating
table. The Laughing Man moves in closer too, emitting a
To corrupt the image of man
and then offer redemption ... This
is the dawn, Kafka. A new man is
being born here. A more resilient
man ... A superman.
Kafka attempts an escape around the operating table, but the
Laughing Man blocks his way and corrals him back to where he
was before. Dr. Murnau holds out the sinister aperitif for
Kafka to take and drink in toast.
To a new world -- of Gods
The glass comes closer and closer to Kafka's lips -- if he
leans away from it any further he'll be lying on the
operating table -- but now a WRENCHING noise makes everybody
The body of Mr. Pick, bloody and ragged, is dragged up with a
SMASH through a breaking floor-panel by the great chain.
Kafka has his chance. The next time anyone looks at him he's
holding the nozzle of the burning device under Ekman's
throat, finger on the trigger.
-- And on the other side of the laboratory a wide elevator
platform rises into view -- carrying the prisoners from the
Throws Ekman aside and runs away.
Falls to the floor, holding his hands up over his head with a
SCREAM as the ghastly creatures from the depths converge on
him -- but they pass him by -- intent on getting Murnau.
The last out of the elevator is the most horrible BEAST-MAN
yet -- and we finally see the use to which various
animal-parts have been put.
Just stands by the operating table, waiting for them. He
knows there's no way out and he's far too practical a man to
waste energy running or screaming.
Kafka running through the Castle, through door after door
after door after door, leaving them all banging behind him,
back and forth.
Ekman stumbles to his feet, watching in horror as the
prisoners of the Castle strap Murnau to his own operating
One by one, the prisoners file past the intricate surgical
tools neatly laid out on white cloth. Each prisoner selects
the implement of his choice.
Ekman, too, runs away out of the laboratory.
The Laughing Man, snickering, isn't sure whose side he's on.
But then, LAUGHTER BUILDING, he goes to join the others in
Kafka still running in the maze -- through a final door. And
he finds himself right back in --
With the brightness of the laboratory facing him through its
open door. Horrible SOUNDS coming from in there.
THE HIDDEN BOMB-CASE
Running again, through the maze of corridors. He HEARS
running footsteps behind him -- looks back to see Ekman
running after him. Ekman catches up -- but runs past Kafka
in his panic to escape -- out onto a metal walkway around a
central area of offices.
Murnau can't be seen, only the deranged men huddled closely
around the operating table.
THE HIDDEN BOMB-CASE
Abruptly stops ticking.
THE CENTRAL OFFICES
The floors SHUDDER as the BOOM in the laboratory is heard and
felt. The metal walkway breaks and Ekman goes sliding off it
-- while Kafka manages to hang on. He ducks his face down as
glass from all the surrounding office windows SHATTERS and
SHOWERS -- and then paper starts sailing down all around.
Literally a hailstorm of documents.
On the floor below where he fell, Ekman tries to stand, but
the falling flurry of paper keeps him at bay. He waves his
hands wildly trying to see his way through it all, but it's
too much. Now his feet are trapped in it. It's starting to
rise around his legs. Papers are fluttering down from floors
and floors of surrounding offices above, filling the air.
Ekman suffocates and drowns and disappears in the paper
piling up around him -- one lone arm and hand the last we see
Totally wrecked -- and jutting out of the broken walls are
burst pipes -- spurting red, blue, and black INK everywhere.
THE CENTRAL OFFICES
Kafka is managing to climb back onto the unsafe metal walkway
-- when ZING! -- a bullet ricochets near him.
The Assistants! They've nearly fallen through another
doorway where the walkway on that side broke, but got each
other stuck in the door just in time. One of them is wildly
FIRING a revolver in Kafka's direction. The other tries to
grab it and both FIRE it together in all directions.
Kafka runs away, avoiding a snake of broken wire, flipping
about, SPARKING off the metal.
The Assistants, shoving each other, extricate themselves back
through their doorway to find another way to chase Kafka.
The burst ink pipes drip empty. The sound of maniacal
LAUGHTER abruptly stops. The ink has filled the lab halfway
to the ceiling. It's covered everything and every ... body.
A last bubble pops, leaving a lake of ink with a surface
smooth as glass.
UNDERGROUND FILE VAULT
Kafka has found his way back here -- rushing in. But wait:
Which file cabinet did he come out of? He's surrounded by
file cabinet drawers all alike. He starts running around,
pulling open drawers, trying to find the secret doorway
through one of them.
SPIRAL STONE STAIRCASE
Here come the Assistants, running round and round.
UNDERGROUND FILE VAULT
Kafka runs round and round, opening drawer after drawer. He
finds the one! Jumps in! Pulling it closed after him just
-- the Assistants stumble in. They look at each other, then
immediately start rushing around opening drawers. They run
back and forth and all around, bumping into each other,
making themselves dizzy.
(pulls open a drawer)
(turning from another)
-- But Ludwig just pulls out a file folder.
This is filed incorrectly!
Here too! They're all in a
They start trading files back and forth, trying to put the
system back in order. The attention span of squirrels,
they've forgotten all about looking for Kafka.
CASTLE GATES - DAWN
Opening. The police Inspector enters the main courtyard.
Behind him come the two secondary policemen. Behind them,
obscurely, a few more.
He and his men pause, reacting ...
... as the few wretched survivors of the Castle prison
stagger out of the shadows to greet them.
EMBANKMENT - MORNING
On the Old Town side of the River. Foggy.
Walks slowly, tiredly. He looks up at the sky, but the sky
is a silver shield against anyone who looks for help from it.
Kafka stops. Turns. Did he hear something other than the
wind and the water?
He passes through a small park, approaching a gate on the
other side of it. Leaves RUSTLING. Mist swirling around
him. He opens the gate and -- BOO!
Standing there, half in shadow, in profile. Her glorious
Gabriela! -- you did get away.
I knew you walked this way to
work. I wanted to find you
before they did.
-- I've just come from the
Castle. It's over.
(her eye glancing
Over? It's only over when
you can crawl to a clean little
spot on earth where the sun
sometimes shines and you can warm
yourself a bit.
Kafka is beginning to sense something quite wrong with her.
Should I tell you why I joined
our late lamented nihilists?
Why I became a murderer?
Because murder ... is bliss.
(looks at him)
It's easier than you might
think to absorb and assimilate
Evil -- once you've adopted its
Kafka just watches her ... The breeze sings in
Have you ever watched a person
deteriorate? Day by day. I
don't mean in a spiritual sense.
Kafka doesn't answer. She turns fully to him. The other
side of her beautiful face is ... fungus. Alive. Seething.
Frothing. Bubbling. Kafka backs away a couple of steps.
Only two steps back? Even the
man they left to guard me
retreated further than that.
I -- I found your jailer.
This is the result of their
elixir of youth. They were
to come and check on it during
the night. I contrived to
miss the appointment.
They're dead now. We can
I know how they reward failure.
If they saw this I'd be rotting
in the quarries by the afternoon
-- with all the others.
There's a new potion -- he
said it was perfected.
I know there is. And you're
what I have to bargain with.
For now you're the last one
in their way.
I told you, they're dead. It's
Why should I believe a man who
never believed me? They're
absolutely right, you know --
guilt should never be doubted.
It's easier that way.
Kafka starts to back away some more. Gabriela starts to
I think you've just escaped for
the moment. Just as I did. As
Eduard did. As they let us do.
But only for the moment.
No -- not this time.
I know better than you what
people will say when they have
to. When they brought me in
for questioning I informed on my
friends the very first day.
-- Listen to me --
I do. Always. You understand
the world better than any of
us, Kafka. And what it's
I've always held you in the
And suddenly she's slashed a knife across Kafka's chest. He
shouts in pain, staggering backwards. She comes after him.
She comes after him, blade glistening. Kafka does his best
Kafka giddily staggers forward, one arm wrapped around his
bleeding chest, Gabriela close behind him. Too close for him
to get away. He turns to face her as he reaches the bridge
and as she comes upon him again with the knife, raising his
arm to block the thrust and hold her wrist back. She's
strong, though, made more so by her madness. She forces him
down to the ground, straddling him, the knife pushing
closer. Kafka gasps in pain, finally succumbs, no longer
able to hold his hand up in defense, simply shutting his eyes
with a terrible sigh to await the fatal stab.
It doesn't come. Almost. But not quite. Gabriela's arm
pauses, shaking in the cool, cloudy air, her sleeve trembling
in the breeze off the River, the sharp blade, inches from
Kafka's throat, flashing in the new day's light.
Gabriela stares away over the River, the destroyed half of
her face in shadow again, the other more strikingly beautiful
than ever. As Kafka watches, passive, she gets off him and
slowly walks to the wall of the bridge, letting the knife
drop from her hand along the way. Kafka manages to lift
himself to his knees, clutching his wound. He looks up.
Gabriela in one graceful movement climbs over the wall and
throws herself into the River.
Kafka lowers his head.
CONTINENTAL COFFEE SHOP - MORNING
Quiet in here. Breakfast business not as crowded as
evening. Kafka sits alone at his usual table. Looking
dazed, almost in shock. Mostly just tired. Waiting. He
sips from his coffee cup. He COUGHS a little into his napkin
-- and notices blood on it.
He has a pen in his hand. Tapping it slowly on a newspaper
on the table ...
Bizzlebek comes into the coffee house. He sees Kafka sitting
in the far corner and gives a grand smile and wave. But then
he notices Kafka's other friends entering and he'd rather not
have to deal with them -- so he gives Kafka a "catch you
later" gesture and turns onto his own usual stool at the bar.
Kafka stares at his friends over there. They're taking off
their coats and greeting other people. The girl, Anna, is
the first to start walking to join him.
He starts to write, a first line that has occurred to him,
the pen moving as if he can't help himself ...
Dearest Father ...
Anna's approaching. Kafka just watches her coming. He
knows he'll end up going out with her, sleeping with her,
getting engaged to her ... We see the future on Kafka's
You asked me recently why I
maintain that I am afraid
of you ...
KAFKA'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Alone again in his little room, Kafka writes on into the
night. The famous "Letter To His Father" is pages and pages
long. We notice too that his chest has been bandaged. He
COUGHS a little as he forces himself to keep writing.
Naturally things cannot in
reality fit together the way
the evidence does in my letter
-- life is more than a Chinese
puzzle. But in my opinion
something has been achieved
which so closely approximates
the truth that it might reassure
us both a little and make our
living and our dying easier.
WATERFRONT WHARVES - MORNING
The Assistants sit on a big packing crate, brushing soot from
their suits, shaking dust out of their hair, fiddling with
the rips in their jackets and trousers.
We could go back to the office.
Explain ourselves to the Chief
They'd drive us away. That
Kafka's made things very hot
I understand he was wounded
in the lung.
It doesn't matter. It's too
late for all of us.
(looks at O.)
What's to become of us now?
Oskar has a long think.
(looks at L.)
Amerika. That's the place to go.
Ludwig jumps off the box and gapes at Oskar, tremendously
impressed by this brainstorm.
Everyone in Amerika has a
toaster in their building!
Oskar jumps down from the box.
Then that's the place for us!
Amerika for us!
And, linking arms, they do a strange dance along the quay ...
Writers : Lem Dobbs
Genres : Drama