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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Das Schloß" or "Das Schloss")


directed by Michael Haneke
Germany/Austria 1997


Land surveyor K. (Ulrich Mühe, THE LIVES OF OTHERS) arrives in a remote village only to discover that the authorities at "The Castle" who summoned him have no use for him. Having sacrificed a great deal to come there, K. finds himself "appointed" land surveyor by the mysterious Herr Klamm. Saddled with two useless assistants (Frank Giering and Felix Eitner), K.'s only contact with officials at the "The Castle" is the cobbler's son (André Eisermann, BROTHER OF SLEEP) - whose sister (Dörte Lyssewski, QUEEN MARGOT) got him the position by carousing with the Herr Klamm's men - who can only promise to "try" to relay his messages to Klamm (and then only through other intermediaries). K. becomes romantically involved with tavern maid Frieda (Susanne Lothar, THE PIANO TEACHER) who is the mistress of Herr Klamm; and stealing her away proves detrimental for him, more from the villagers who all live in fear/awe of the "The Castle" than from Herr Klamm directly. K. suffers the indignity of having to accept a position of the school janitor (lodging with Frieda and his two assistants - now serving even less of a purpose - in the schoolroom at night), and his further entanglements with the locals - particularly the women - uncovers the flaws in the system and its real inner workings.

Michael Haneke's film version of Kafka's exploration of the inner workings of a bureaucratic hell feels less like an adaptation than a retelling (interspersed throughout with narration that serves less and less purpose). While our sympathy for K disappears once we learn that his relationship with Frieda as well as his seemingly concerned and friendly interactions with other women in the film are his way of gaining access to "The Castle", the viewer is just as frustrated and compelled to follow him as he tries to enter "The Castle" (even figuratively). It's not much of a spoiler to reveal that the film ends just as the book does, but it disappoints that way because it ends up feeling more like a prestige "product" than Haneke's interpretation of the work. The late Mühe, Lothar, and Giering would also appear in Haneke's FUNNY GAMES (the Austrian original).

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: October 1998 (USA)

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DVD Review: Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 2:02:44 (4% PAL speedup)

1.75:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.58 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio German Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.75:1

Edition Details:
•  '24 Realities per Second' documentary (4:3; 56:24)

DVD Release Date: November 12th, 2012

Chapters 12



Once an exclusive to Artificial Eye's out-of-print 10-disc Michael Haneke Anthology (HERE) from 2008, their 2012 disc of THE CASTLE would seem to be an exact replica of the disc in that set (the VOB files all have 2009 creation dates). The film is intended to look dreary, and the grain and grit are probably as much a part of the cinematography as they are of an older digital master (suggested by the application of edge enhancement and the reformatting of the likely 1.66:1 aspect ratio to 1.75:1 with a thick vertical matte on the left side of the frame throughout). The German Dolby Digital 2.0 track is problem free and the optional English subtitles sport only one or two grammatical errors.

There is no trailer for the film, but the disc includes trailers for a handful of Haneke's other film. Also included is an hour-long documentary on Haneke titled "24 Realities per Second" (odd to include a lengthy extra on a disc with a two hour film) which intercuts Haneke's press tour on TIME OF THE WOLF with pre-production on his next film. It is an oddly appropriate extra since we see Haneke continually butting heads with rigid schedules and intermediaries (from production managers to projectionists).

  - Eric Cotenas


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Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL



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