New movie about Franz Kafka from Agnieszka Holland now filming in Prague

The much-anticipated biopic from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Agnieszka Holland is now shooting in the Czech capital's city center. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 13.04.2024 14:25:00 (updated on 17.04.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Director Agnieszka Holland has begun filming Franz, a new feature delving into the life of acclaimed writer Franz Kafka, in the center of Prague as of this weekend. The shoot was first reported by The Prague Reporter earlier this week and confirmed by producers to Czech News Agency on Friday.

Franz covers Kafka's journey from his birth in 19th-century Prague to his passing in 1924. A press release for the film refers to his death in Berlin, though the real Kafka died in Austria. German actor Idan Weiss stars as Kafka with Czech actress Jenovéfa Boková as friend and translator Milena Jesenská, alongside a supporting cast of Czech and German actors.

"Kafka has maintained the status of a global rock star for a hundred years. There are dozens of detailed biographies, tons of analysis, tons of books about him," director Holland says through a press release.

"But the reasons for his growing importance and his personality remain a mystery. I try to put this film together like a scattered puzzle. We know everything about Kafka and nothing at the same time [...] Kafka predicted the world's darkest future, but there was more brightness and humor in Kafka himself than people usually think."

A graduate of FAMU in Prague, Holland has been a successful Polish filmmaker for decades. She earned an Oscar nomination for her screenplay to 1991's Europa Europa, and has most recently won acclaim for last year's Green Border, a Czech co-production set on the border between Poland and Belarus.

Franz marks Holland's latest endeavor in capturing the essence of complex historical figures. Her previous works, such as the Czech Oscar submission Charlatan and last year's Green Border, have garnered significant critical acclaim, showcasing her ability to bring compelling stories to the screen.

The director's long-term connection to Prague adds another layer to the film's narrative. Having studied in Prague, she considers herself somewhat of a Czech filmmaker. Her familiarity with the city's atmosphere and history enriches the storytelling, offering audiences a unique perspective on Kafka's world.

"To have the life of one of the most popular and modern writers of the 20th century adapted to the screen by a visionary director like Agnieszka [Holland] is a dream for us," adds producer Šárka Cimbalová, who anticipates Franz to be an engaging European film with significant international appeal.

The film's production in Prague highlights the city's significance as a cultural hub and reinforces its reputation as a sought-after filming location. The filming of Franz in Prague coincides with the 100th anniversary of Kafka's death in 1924, which is being celebrated through multiple events across the city throughout the year.

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