After a handful of splendid static shots of gaunt hero Maximilian Schell (playing a stand-in for author Franz Kafka, simply called K) walking through the snow, there would be a zoomed-in take from a hundred yards away of K wandering between people and objects, or the camera operator would rocket around the set trying to keep up with events. Suddenly I saw the seeds that would grow into Devil and The Devils. This film might be the start of one of my all-time favourite sub-genres, the "Harried Men In Big Coats" film. Stalker, Alien³, 12 Monkeys, Ravenous and Children of Men are all examples of the form. I can't get enough of them. No one shaves, everyone suffers continual embarrassment and injury, characters drop like flies trying to buck a ghastly (political) agenda.
The Castle may be a parable (I've yet to see how the other adaptations treat the story), but its truths stick like pins in your skin. There is no comfort in the vagueness. You suffer right along with Schell's K, your hopes rise and fall with his. This might not be the best film that played the festival (The Firemen's Ball, The Red & The White and Kuroneko are objectively better), but it might be the one that haunts me the longest.