Three short films based on stories by Franz Kafka and made during 2000-2002 have been combined in “K,” an intriguing but hermetic cinema debut from Iranian-born multimedia artist Shoja Azari. Shot in B&W, with varying running times and employing the same actors in a variety of roles, the three episodes add up to an intriguing approach to difficult subject matter. Commercial possibilities are slight, but festivals could give the film exposure, which might result in cult status further down the track.
Part One, “The Married Couple,” is about a salesman, Robert (Oz Phillips) who visits the home of a prospective client (Mohammad Ghaffari) with unexpected results. In Part Two, “In the Penal Colony,” Phillips portrays a visitor to a desert prison where the officer in charge (Ghaffari) has established a bizarre machine for torturing and executing victims; this is the longest, slowest and least effective seg of the film. Part Three, the brief “A Fratricide,” economically depicts the stabbing murder of Phillips by Ghaffari. Though handsomely shot and well acted, pic’s tone is uneven, and the difficulties of bringing Kafka’s idiosyncratic world to the screen have not entirely been solved.