Living in forced exile since 1974, Němec had limited opportunity to make films the way he wanted – the few significant works then were productions made for television. German TV station ZDF gave him the chance to finally turn to Franz Kafka, whom he called his “essential author” and to whom he had already paid tribute in his feature debut Diamonds of the Night by placing all the Prague dreamscapes on Kafka’s favourite walks. 
Taking a typically personal approach, Němec depicts Samsa’s world through a subjective camera, emphasising his inner world and his observation of shocked family and his surroundings. In line with Kafka’s wishes we don’t get to see the bug, instead we feel the suffering of exclusion and mockery intensely, looking at the world through Samsa’s eyes. Yet even in moments of such existential turmoil, Němec finds ways to bring in a dash of comedy and playfulness, in tune with the best of Kafka’s literary works. 

International title
Metamorphosis
Filmmaker
Jan Němec
Country
West Germany
Year
1975
Medium
File
Length
55’
Language
German
Production Company
ZDF
Sales
ZDF
Writer
Jan Němec, (based on the novel by) Franz Kafka
Cinematography
Nicole Gasquet, Thomas Mauch
Editor
Horst Rossberger
Production Design
Gerd Krauss
Sound Design
Thilo Parr, Heinz Inderst
Music
Evžen Illín
Cast
Zdeňka Procházková, Heinz Bennent, Edwige Pierre, Tamara Kafka