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Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life

Posted by martinteller on April 21, 2015

Because “Franz Kafka” kinda sounds like “Frank Capra”, get it?  This 24-minute short finds Kafka himself (Richard E. Grant) agonizing over the first line of “The Metamorphosis”, trying to decide what Gregor Samsa will turn into.  He’s frustrated with writer’s block, distracted by music coming from the downstairs tenant (Elaine Collins), and creeped out by a knife sharpener (Ken Stott) lingering in the stairwell.  It’s a whole lot more Kafka than Capra, although finally at the end it starts to resemble the Xmas classic.  But regardless of how faithful it is to the concept, it’s still somewhat amusing.  The cutaways to Samsa waking up as a banana and a kangaroo are pretty funny.  I generally don’t care much for Grant, but I must say he fits the role.  The short is generally true to the spirit of Kafka, conveying that sense that everyone is — almost deliberately, maliciously — talking on different wavelengths.  It’s an entertaining lark.  Written and directed by Peter Capaldi, the foul-mouthed “Malcolm Tucker” of “The Thick of It” and In the Loop (oh, and also he plays someone named “Doctor Who”).  Rating: Good (74)


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