Two conflicting desires and obligations tears at Franz Kafka in Steven Soderburgh’s Kafka. Both Soderbergh and Kafka explore differences between right and wrong, obligation and self appeal. Kafka was torn between living a life of ignorance and conformity and discovering the truth and fighting against what is wrong. In the end, he conquered both of these ambitions.
Kafka lived his life in solitude and never questioned authority. He did what was expected of him and nothing more. He was ignorant to the truth or perhaps he chose to ignore it. But once he chose to investigate his friend’s “suicide” this seemingly content life is challenged by the truth and Kafka is torn between truth or chosen ignorance. As he continues through the movie he discovers the truth but still has the choice to turn back. But Kafka chooses to venture on.
Kafka’s choice is between a life of solitude and a life or normality. He feels an obligation to himself to continue his life and an obligation to justify his friend’s death. But he later feels an obligation to society.
These two conflicting standpoints eat away at him. They wage a war and throughout the movie one threatens to win over the other. But, in the end both win, or rather they lose, leaving Kafka more ostracized than he was before.
Through the struggle Soderbergh is able to demonstrate not only the choice between what is right and wrong but also a conflict within a man and the aftermath of that internal war. Both Kafka’s struggles between comfort and conformity and his pursuit of the truth win. Kafka discovers the truth of his friend’s death and what is really going on, buthe also chooses to live and conform to his previous ignorance. Kafka was torn between two desires and two obligations, and in the end it did not matter whichone he choice. His fate was unaltered.