Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor - Reviews

Alt title: Kafka Inaka Isha

MechaRainbow's avatar
Apr 15, 2012

I honestly love the original story so I may have a bias towards this but I defnitely feel I wouldn't have enjoyed this as much if I hadn't read Kafka's story first. I really loved the animation, it really gave the feel that I believe that Kafka was looking for, an interpretation that did the story justice far as the artwork. My only issue with it was it just seemed felt rushed, I know in the story it doesn't get deep into the characters too much but i kind of felt like the story and plot was rushed because I didn't have the same reaction as I did when I read the story, it didn't hit me as deeply. The artwork seemed to be the main focus in my opinion and I wonder if the creator of this was forced to fit that 20 min or so mark because I felt like things just could have been done better but that is just my personal opinion. Anyways I still really enjoyed this, my only advice would be to read his story before you watch this, its great:)

6/10 story
10/10 animation
8/10 sound
5/10 characters
7/10 overall
PharuanUndearth's avatar
Aug 3, 2017

That's the link I used to read the story beforehand as the other reviewer MechaRainbow suggested I do beforehand, which I usually recommend but it doesn't really matter either way.

Pros: Abnormal story. Child choir.

Cons: Almost everything else.


The anime follows the story pretty damn close but it doesn't make a weird stupid story better. The fact that the animation is some funhouse mirror room doesn't improve the story either. Um, not really worth watching.

9/10 story
3/10 animation
6/10 sound
2/10 characters
5/10 overall
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kasasagi's avatar
Jul 27, 2022

'Kafkaesque': extremely unpleasant, frightening, and confusing, and similar to situations described in the novels of Franz Kafka (Cambridge dictionary) 

This short film is an of adaptation the story 'Ein Landarzt' (A Country Doctor) Kafka wrote in 1917 and published one year later. Among his works, this is one of the few Kafka himself, who always judged his own writing very harshly, actually considered good. And I agree with him on that, 'A Country Doctor' is one of my favorite stories of all time. Maybe that makes it all the harder for me not to be too critical of any attempted adaptation, but at the same time it is clear to me how challenging literary adaptations can prove - especially when it comes to a text that is so open to interpretation as this one. 

On the topic of accuracy, this short film is indeed very close to its source material. The plot is not easy to descirbe in brief, but it revolves around an aged doctor who is working out in the countryside in the middle of winter. Under bizzare circumstances he is called to the sickbed of a young man. There all kind of strange occurrences on the way, making the events quite surreal und hard to fully grasp. 

In the movie they mostly focus on the dialogue and cut the narrator's voice to a minimum. In this way, not everything comes perfectly across. Knowing the story prior to watching could help with that, but then again a movie should be able to stand on its own.

I could be wrong, but I believe the creators were also influenced by the German opera adaptations of the text, like the one sung by Hans Werner Henze. The vibe is pretty similar, even though they seem to have based it more on elements of Japanese theater. 


The film works with a lot of distortions and unnatural deformations. It is not pretty, but it is unique and is there to accentuate the bizarre nature of the story itself. 

Personally I think they somewhat overdid it. Kafka's story is already impactful on its own and part of what makes it unsettling at times is that it is still grounded in reality while constantly undermining it. Unexpected events occur, but their contiguousness to actuality is what ultimately generates unease. In this way the animation took some of that away - instead of letting the events of the story stand of their own animation and style took the center stage without any real subtlety. 

I know this is very subjective and others might prefer this adaptation over the short story, but for me the film did not manage to bring the atmosphere the text weaves across. And Kafka is a lot about atmosphere. Still, I'd say it is worth checking out. 


Final verdict: 6/10 (pretty good) 

Closing words: Though a trite remark, the books was better. 

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
6/10 overall
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