The Trial

Orson Welles, France/Italy/Germany, 1962, 117 min.

The Trial plays with the confusion and alienation of its main character (Anthony Perkins) too well. It’s so effective that the viewer is confused and alienated almost to the point of disengaging. But what keeps you there, connected with the film, is the artistic eye of the director Orson Welles. From long takes to quick-cutting mood-building sequences, each shot is crafted with an eye of an architect.

The opening sequence following the dialog and movements between Anthony Perkins and the strange intruders in his apartment is a good example. Another one is when he goes to visit a famous painter and has to fight his way through the admiring female fans. Once inside a wooden room, the camera follows the faces and eyes of the girls peering in between the wood slats. It’s one of many great sequences in the film.

But, as I said before, the film is about confusion and alienation. So the viewer is tasked with watching a great director craft engaging sequences, but being drawn away from the characters and plot because of the nature of the narrative.

This film wins the award “Most Obvious influence on Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, at least that is what I thought while watching the great bureaucracy machine destroy the lives of the characters.

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