Joseph Kilian (1963) 720p

Movie Poster
Joseph Kilian (1963) - Movie Poster
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Czech 2.0  
Run Time:
38 min
IMDB Rating:
7.3 / 10 
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Directors: Pavel Jurácek [Director] ,

Movie Description:
A man borrows a cat and when he goes back to return it, the place where he got it is no longer there. He begins his search.


  • Joseph Kilian (1963) - Movie Scene 1
  • Joseph Kilian (1963) - Movie Scene 2
  • Joseph Kilian (1963) - Movie Scene 1

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Aren't you Mr. Kilian?

A man is searching for someone named Josef Kilian who is proving elusive to say the least. Whilst searching he passes a 'rent-a-cat' shop, goes inside and duly rents one. When the time comes to return it he finds the shop is no longer there. Concerned with being charged a penalty for an overdue cat the man goes from one official to another and trudges along an endless maze of corridors to no avail. Still lumbered with the moggy he recognises a man in a restaurant who resembles Kilian. This turns out to be 'mistaken identity'(or is it?) and when the other man gets up to go he too is carrying a cat.Written and directed by Paval Juracek and Jan Schmidt this bizarre, surreal piece takes us into a Kafkaesque world in which anonymity is the norm and people are resigned to living under a crushing bureaucracy. Is it coincidental that the leading character in Kafka's 'The Trial' is named Josef K? I think not.Although not an easy watch this is a highly inventive piece with excellent sound effects and suitably anarchic music. Kuracek and Schmidt have crammed as much as they can into its thirty-eight minute length.Juracek had been treading on thin ice for years and the biting satire of his 1970 film 'Case for a Rookie Hangman' proved too much for the Czech authorities. It was banned and so, alas, was he!

Unpopular opinion: not good enough

Tears of joy when it was over cause it was too darn sickening and so long even with its 38 minutes. Forget about its ultimate pretense in trying to bring a Kafkaesque setting into a moderated hidden criticism on Czechoslovakia's and the Communist regime; what hurt the most was not seeing "inspired by the works of Franz Kafka" in the movie's screenplay opening titles. In some countries it's known as "Joseph Kilian", obvious reference but not used to the fullest here, with a story involving a man who's trying to find the title character for reasons unknown, and gets trapped into bureaucratic obstacles, among them he suddenly gets the urge of going to a shop where he can rent a cat. Purpose? None, I guess.

Usually, whether being inspired by or being a work based on Kafka, you can't go wrong. The aesthetics, the references, everything is easily recognizable and can be greatly long the director knows what to do with those, and he or she is fully aware of how to compose everything. The duo Pavel Jurácek and Jan Schmidt never got me fully invested in this story, nothing made sense, neither the Kafka's channeling, neither their critique on their nation, also homeland of Mr. Kafka - the then Austria-Hungary. It's so lifeless, with minor bits of dark humor, voiceless. What's the idea behind all the confusion? Man is superior to the animal because he can be more submissive, reflects one character and that seems the only deep part of the movie. If there's symbols, they're all flawed, lacking in substance and a proper use of the absurd. The monochromatic hue was perfect along with some optical effects that made me remember of "The Metamorphosis", a scene where a character is carrying a huge object through the stairs but it feels like it's a giant insect climbing those same stairs.

Apart from some minor qualities, here's a movie that won't stick in your memory. Pity. 4/10

the best

I don't want to repeat what was said in the other reviews, some background information: Juracek was very disappointed that he was linked with Kafka all the time. Kafka wasn't his favourite writer, the thing is that everybody who lived in Czechoslovakia during that time (I am talking about he people who didn't like that regime)lived a life that was very similar to the Kafka's novels. You didn't need to read Kafka, Kafka was all around you. Later on, Juracek thought that making fun of regime was too simple (there are many films in 60s who are doing that see Menzel, Nemec) and with his next film A case for a rookie hangman he tried to be more profound. He tried to make something more than a satire. He thought Postava is just a simple satire. He was wrong , the film survived its 20 years of prohibition and young people in C.R are fascinated by this film even after almost 50 years. To foreigners: yeas it is little bit strange that in the 60s the regime let the directors make fun of it, that the regime was in fact financing it. the trouble was, Czechoslovakia wanted to compete with the West. And the best directors were anti-communists. And also the whole country was changing. Even communist party was slightly moving towards more democratic regime. However, after the Soviet occupation, a lot of the directors and writers (the ones who didn't leave the country) paid their price for making these films.
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