Agnieszka Holland has signed on to direct a biopic of 20th century novelist Franz Kafka.
Titled “Kafka,” the film will cover the writer’s life in a series of standalone vignettes, from his birth in 19th century Prague through to his death in Berlin just a few years after the close of World War I.
Šárka Cimbalová, Sam Taylor and Mike Downey are set to produce the feature. “‘Kafka’ will be a dazzling kaleidoscopic mosaic of a film that dramatizes the famous writer’s life and imagination in a series of standalone vignettes that span Kafka’s life from his birth in pre-war Prague, up to his tragic death in Berlin in 1924 and into scenes from the future he envisioned,” the trio said in a statement.
Marek Epstein will write the screenplay based on a story by Downey and Epstein. “Kafka” will be presented in the Berlinale co-production market line-up on Feb. 12 with the film going set to go into production in spring 2023.
Holland has previously been nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film for “In Darkness” and last year her feature “Charlatan,” about Czechoslovak healer Jan Mikolášek, was shortlisted in the same category.
“Kafka was a man of great sensitivity and ill-suited to his time,” Holland said in a statement. “We have a much better chance of understanding him today than his peers had a century ago. He was the soul of the third millennium. A man living mentally largely outside the reality of his body. Living the world in letters as intensely as today’s man is living his life on social networks. To understand Kafka, we want to carefully piece together fragments from Kafka’s past and creation to create a mosaic beyond not only his life toward the present, but also to create a comprehensive view of the dramatic world of Kafka’s imagination.”
Cimbalová added: “It’s great to have the team back together again and I really appreciate the fact that we are back in the Berlinale co-production market after the success of our film ‘Charlatan’ in the Berlinale. Our participation here has fundamentally helped us to establish the project in the international consciousness and to find interesting foreign partners who have been contacting us nonstop since the project was announced.”