The Trial

“In the prologue to The Trial, Welles comments, ‘It has been said that the logic of this story is the logic of a dream - of a nightmare.' This sets the tone for one of the most remarkable films of the sixties. Joseph K (Anthony Perkins), the clerk who is arraigned and condemned for an undisclosed offence, stands - in Welles's eyes - for a society that is to blame for the ghastly knots into which it has tied itself. He is gullible, and convinced of his inferiority. He is an insignificant speck in a bureaucratic community (illustrated with a breathtaking shot of hundreds of typists at work in a vast exhibition hall)....

“The monstrous perspectives of the Gare d'Orsay (the principal location for the film)... form a symbolic background that is an equivalent of the labyrinthine ways and mournful buildings of Kafka's Prague. The noble chords of Albinoni's ‘Adagio,' detached from the action and opposed to the stuttering montage, lend a sound of inevitability to the film. Welles shows... that expressionism is still a ferociously effective style... to emphasize that the omniscient State is as potential a danger as it was in 1925, when Kafka's book was first published.”

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