alr

The Trial
(Le Procès)

Screening on Film
Directed by Orson Welles.
With Anthony Perkins, Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau.
France/Italy/West Germany, 1962, 35mm, black & white, 120 min.
Print source: HFA

Hailed upon its release as a masterpiece by European critics but dismissed as a failure by the British and American press, The Trial is arguably Welles’s finest film after Citizen Kane (and with Kane, the only other film over which he exercised complete creative control). Welles’s rendition of Franz Kafka’s nightmarish story of a man arrested for a crime that is never explained to him is entirely faithful to the novel, even with the necessary transpositions made to update the action. Anthony Perkins portrays Josef K., a sensitive, "twitchy" individual pursued by a repressive bureaucracy, obsessed by an undefined guilt, and bewildered by the burden of living. Much of the action was filmed in the vast, fantastic setting of the then-disused Gare d’Orsay in Paris, which Welles turns into a kind of antechamber of Hell. Replete with unforgettably baroque, expressionistic imagery, The Trial evokes a caustic vision of the modern world, where implausible events seem like everyday occurrences.

Part of film series

Read more

Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: S–T

Other film series with this film

Read more

Literature and Film

Read more

Remembering Romy

Read more

Kafka Goes to the Movies

Read more

Poetic Horror, Pop Existentialism and Cheap Sci-Fi: Cold War Cinema 1948–1964

Read more

Orson Welles, Part One

Current and upcoming film series

Read more

Ousmane Sembène, Cinematic Revolutionary

Read more

Afterimage… For a New, Radical Cinema

Read more

This Is Us. Two Films by Hong Sangsoo

Read more

Harvard Undergraduate Cinematheque

Read more

Cotton Comes to Harlem. The Godfrey Cambridge Collection at Houghton

Read more

Jean-Pierre Bekolo, 2024 McMillan-Stewart Fellow

Read more

The Practice (and Other Works) By Martín Rejtman

Read more

Chronicles of Changing Times. The Cinema of Edward Yang

Read more
Gene Hackman crouched beside a toilet with audio equipment

From the HFA Collection...