Franz Kafka’s Unfinished Novel, The Castle, Gets Turned Into an Album by Czech Musicians: Watch a Music Video for the Song, “The Grave”

If, for some unfath­omable rea­son, author Franz Kaf­ka should emerge from his grave to direct a music video, the result would most cer­tain­ly resem­ble the one for “The Grave” by The Kaf­ka Band, above.

The air of futil­i­ty and social fore­bod­ing…

The chilly bro­ken land­scape, ren­dered in black and white…

Biki­nis and bling…

(Kid­ding! Over­coats and hag­gard expres­sions.)

“The Grave” was direct­ed by ani­ma­tor, Noro Hold­er, but the lyrics are cred­it­ed to Kaf­ka, drawn direct­ly from his unfin­ished nov­el, The Cas­tle. As the band’s name might imply, this is no fick­le flir­ta­tion with the author’s sen­si­bil­i­ties.

“The Grave” is actu­al­ly part of a ten-song album inspired by The Cas­tle. (Stream it on Spo­ti­fy below.) As band­mate, author Jaroslav Rudiš, observed:

Kaf­ka is often deemed as a dark author, yet we strive to chal­lenge this cliché. The nov­el pos­sess­es plen­ty of black and absurd humour, which we reflect­ed in some of our com­po­si­tions.

The album led to a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Germany’s The­ater Bre­men on a the­atri­cal adap­ta­tion that fea­tured the music played live.

The moody wood­cut-inspired visu­als seen above come from a graph­ic nov­el adap­ta­tion of The Cas­tle illus­trat­ed by Rudiš’ band­mate, Jaromír 99, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with David Zane Mairowitz, an Amer­i­can play­wright who pre­vi­ous­ly tack­led Kafka’s The Tri­al

At the point where anoth­er group might decide to take a detour into sun­nier territory—a pop romp through the oeu­vre of Milan Kun­dera perhaps—the Kaf­ka Band is dou­bling down on anoth­er copro­duc­tion with The­ater Bre­men, an adap­ta­tion of Kafka’s nov­el Ameri­ka (or The Man Who Dis­ap­peared), slat­ed to open this fall.

The Grave

I’m dream­ing of

Being with you

With­out inter­rup­tion

On earth

There is no space

For our love

Not in the vil­lage

Not any­where else.

Deep in the earth / around us only death / the liv­ing won’t find us.

I’m imag­in­ing a grave

Deep and tight

We hold each oth­er

My face next to yours

Yours next to mine

Nobody will ever see us

On earth there is no space

For our love.

Deep in the earth / around us only death / the liv­ing won’t find us.

Watch the video for “Arrival,” anoth­er track inspired by The Cas­tle, with draw­ings by Jaromír 99 here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Meta­mor­fo­s­is: Franz Kafka’s Best-Known Short Sto­ry Gets Adapt­ed Into a Tim Bur­tonesque Span­ish Short Film

Four Franz Kaf­ka Ani­ma­tions: Enjoy Cre­ative Ani­mat­ed Shorts from Poland, Japan, Rus­sia & Cana­da

Franz Kafka’s Exis­ten­tial Para­ble “Before the Law” Gets Brought to Life in a Strik­ing, Mod­ern Ani­ma­tion

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, and the­ater mak­er, soon to be appear­ing in a clown adap­ta­tion of Faust, inspired by the cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion and open­ing in New York City this June. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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