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The Trial
(Le Procès)

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

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 features Anthony Perkins as Josef K., a "twitchy" individual pursued by a repressive bureaucracy, obsessed by an undefined guilt, and bewildered by the burden of living. Schneider takes on the role of Leni, K's sometime-lover. With its jazz sound track, its shadowy black-and-white cinematography, its angled close-ups, and its labyrinthine spaces, Welles's The Trial gives cinematic expression to Kafka's complex parable of contemporary existence.

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