“Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor” is a 2007 anime short film by Kōji Yamamura, a Japanese animation creator known for his animated short films with a wide range of techniques.
It is based on Franz Kafka’s short story “Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor)” (1917).
Script, storyboards, camera, editing, character design, animation, art direction, background drawing, and direction by Kōji Yamamura. Produced by Yamamura Animation. 21 minutes.
On a winter night, a doctor is going to visit an emergency patient by carriage, but his horse is dead, and he is in trouble for not being able to get on his way.
Then, a strange groom appears from a pig shed, and puts two horses to doctor’s carriage.
The doctor hesitates to visit his patient leaving his maid Rosa because the groom starts chasing Rosa, but the carriage with the doctor arrives at the patient’s house in no time at all.
Kafka’s original is a surreal and dreamy work depicting a country doctor who experienced strange events. It can be interpreted as an allegorical expression of anxiety and isolation of a person living through inevitable fates and repeated reality.
All the over 10,000 key animation graphics are hand-drawn.
Trembling of drawing lines, change in shape of character’s body, and strange posings like dance are used as techniques for expressing wavering mind.
The voice actors are kyōgen performer Sensaku Shigeyama and his family, novelist Hitomi Kanehara, and others.
This film won the grand prix (Best Short) of the 2007 Ottawa International Animation Festival.
There is also a picture book edition which used the key animation graphics of this film.