The Diaries of Franz Kafka

Source: Max Brod (ed.), The Diaries of Franz Kafka, 1910-1923 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964), p. 238

Text: 20 November 1913

Was at the movies. Wept. Lolotte. The good pastor. The little bicycle. The reconciliation of the parents. Boundless entertainment. Before that a sad film, Catastrophe at the Dock, after the amusing Alone at Last. Am completely empty and meaningless, the electric tram passing by has more living meaning.

Comment: Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was an occasional cinemagoer in the early 1910s. His fleeting references to film, combined with fuller accounts by his friend Max Brod, have been collated and analysed in Hanns Zischler, Kafka Goes to the Movies (Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2003). Zischler identifies the films to which Kafka refers as being L’Enfant de Paris [i.e. Lolotte] (France 1913), Katastrofen I Dokken (Denmark 1913) and Endlich allein, oder Isidors Hochzeitsreise (Germany 1913). Kafka lived in Prague, then part of Austria-Hungary.