The Trial

Monday, October 29, 2018

DCP Projection

“Say what you like, but THE TRIAL is the best film I ever made.” — Orson Welles

But for years, no one could even consider this bold statement due to the poor, dupey, grainey, barely legible prints and videos that are for sale. Now, with a new stunning video mastering off of the original 35mm negative, THE TRIAL glows with the cinematic brilliance Orson Welles originally intended.

Based on the great novel by Franz Kafka, Joseph K, a young bank clerk, is awakened one morning by a police inspector and two detectives. They have come to arrest him. Although he has committed no crime and has no idea of the charges, he finds himself being discussed and scorned by his neighbors, all of whom seem to know the details of his case. K is led through a labyrinth of corridors and taken before an examining magistrate, but he still cannot find out why he is under suspicion. His uncle, who somehow knows about his forthcoming trial, takes him to a bedridden advocate, Hastler, who agrees to act as his defense attorney. While the advocate rambles on about legal problems, K is seduced by Leni, the advocate’s nurse and mistress, who is irresistibly drawn to condemned men. After dismissing the advocate because of his delay in getting on with the case, K meets a priest who tells him an allegorical tale of a man who waited all his life at the door of The Law but died without gaining admittance. Then, early one morning, K is accosted by two executioners who lead him to a quarry at the edge of town. They want K to take his own life but he refuses. When he defiantly maintains his innocence and laughs hysterically at his tormentors, they toss two sticks of dynamite into the pit. Following an explosion, a mushroom shaped cloud rises from the quarry.

Welles brilliantly captures the novel in this powerfully surreal masterpiece. Fans can finally see THE TRIAL as Welles wanted it to be seen. – Milestone Films

Screening as part of our retrospective series “Directed by Orson Welles,” from Oct 26 through Nov 1.


  • Country France, West Germany, Italy
  • Year 1962
  • Running Time 119 minutes
  • Distributor Rialto
  • Director Orson Welles
  • Writer Franz Kafka (based on the novel by), Orson Welles (screenplay), Pierre Cholot (adaptation)
  • Editor Yvonne Martin, Fritz H. Muller, Orson Welles
  • Cinematographer Edmond Richard
  • Cast Anthony Perkins, Arnoldo Foa, Jess Hahn, Billy Kearns, Madeleine Robinson, Jeanne Moreau

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and as well as through general internet searches.