With the new six-part biographical miniseries “Kafka,” Das Erste pays tribute to the world-famous writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924). The occasion is the 100th anniversary of his death on June 3, 2024. All ARD state broadcasters took part in the elaborate production. It tells the story of the life and work of the giant of world literature, and the historical series boasts an impressive star cast. The Swiss actor Joel Basman (“Tatort”, “The Raid”, 34) shines in the leading role of Franz Kafka.

The new ARD series “Kafka” is not structured chronologically. Rather, each of the six episodes is dedicated to a different important chapter from Franz Kafka’s life. In three episodes, for example, his partners and love interests Felice Bauer (Lia von Blarer, 31), Milena Jesenská (“Babylon Berlin” star Liv Lisa Fries, 33) and Dora Diamant (Tamara Romera Ginés, 29) are the focus. Kafka, who was considered to be extremely decisive in matters of love, was engaged three times but never married. In the years before his death, he had what was then called a “wild marriage” with Dora Diamant.

Another episode of “Kafka” is dedicated to the overpowering, domineering father Hermann Kafka (Nicholas Ofczarek, 52), whose casual cruelty inspired the story “Letter to the Father”. Kafka’s professional life in the workers’ insurance institution and the so-called “Prague Circle” around his best friend Max Brod (David Kross, 33) are also examined in one episode.

The creators David Schalko (director, 51) and Daniel Kehlmann (screenplay, 49) were able to hire a top-class acting ensemble for their prestigious series project. In addition to those already mentioned, Robert Stadlober (41), Lars Eidinger (48), Charly Hübner (51), Christian Friedel (45), who has just been seen in “The Zone of Interest” in the cinema, Katharina Thalbach (70) also work. and Verena Altenberger (36) in front of the camera – among others.

The three-volume Kafka biography by the literary scholar Reiner Stach (73) served as the basis for the ARD series project. Stach also acted as a technical consultant for “Kafka”.

A worthy monument to the great writer Franz Kafka is being erected with the new, biographical ARD series. In six episodes, the series creators Kehlmann and Schalko comprehensively illuminate Kafka’s everyday world and show the person behind the world-famous author in all his facets – with all his fears, neuroses, earning a living in the unpopular insurance company, his nightly writing work, his family, his hesitant love affairs and the lively circle of friends.

It is precisely these circumstances that are probably less known to the vast majority of viewers than Kafka’s work itself. Time and again, clever connections are made between events from Kafka’s life and important writings such as “The Metamorphosis”, “The Process” or “In the penal colony”.

Numerous dialogues in the series are also taken from Kafka’s stories, diaries and letters, which means that the line between reality and fiction in “Kafka” becomes increasingly blurred.