THE SPIDERS (Fritz Lang, 1919)

The two parts of the four-part serial Die Spinnen that writer-director Fritz Lang completed, “Der Goldene See” (“The Golden Sea”) and “Das Brillantenschiff” (“The Diamond Ship”), constitute the most buoyant heroic crime-fighting adventure film ever. Visually dazzling, dramatically light and thrilling, the film owes much to Jules Verne’s fiction, and something to Feuillade’s film serials […]

SHADOWS AND FOG (Woody Allen, 1991)

The greatest film in the English language, from Franz Kafka, is Orson Welles’s The Trial (1962), which lends tremendous sorrow to the original’s bureaucratic satire, raised to the level of existential mystery, by taking into account an event that occurred historically post-novel: the Holocaust. Another U.S. writer-director, Woody Allen, mined a similar vein of emotionally […]


Inspired by Franz Kafka’s Letter to My Father, Czech writer-director and musician Jan Němec’s Nocní hovory s matkou is an elaborate, not quite convincing attempt to relate personal circumstances to the tumultuous political history in which they occurred. During Němec’s lifetime, a main street in Prague successively bore five different names, each reflective of a […]