Movie buffs have a rare opportunity on their hands as Evil Dead Rise and A24’s latest, Beau Is Afraid, release in tandem – presenting the perfect double-bill. We explain the meaning behind the term Kafkaesque, in relation to novelist Franz Kafka, and discuss why it relates to Beau is Afraid.
Before watching Beau Is Afraid this weekend, we previously explained if A24’s latest feature was a horror movie or not so that you know what to expect.
Directed, written, and co-produced by Ari Aster for A24, Beau is Afraid follows the life of the titular anxious man as we navigate his relationship with his parents that is also expected to take some supernatural turns.
- MORE BEAU IS AFRAID: Beau is Afraid will release as a cinema exclusive before widespread streaming
Kafkaesque meaning explained – How does it relate to Beau Is Afraid?
When someone refers to a piece of work as being “Kafkaesque,” they are meaning that the events, tone, and qualities of the project are similar to the fictional world created by novelist Frank Kafka.
Kafka’s work often features a character who is caught in a nightmarish scenario, where the odds are against them and they are powerless to change the outcome.
Characters are caught in the middle of a storm where terrible events keep piling up around them, resulting in them feeling like they are trapped within a nightmare.
What transpires is often a feeling of surrealism for the protagonist and for the reader and this term is being used to explain Beau Is Afraid in a nutshell.
Just from the trailer, we can see that the titular character, Beau, is experiencing a stack of nightmarish events piling up against him, which clearly takes him spiraling down a rabbit hole.
Who is Franz Kafka?
Born in 1883 in Prague, Franz Kafka was a German-speaking Bohemian novelist, whose artistic style rendered him a staple of 20th-century literature.
Kafka’s unique work explored themes of anxiety, alienation, and guilt while subjecting his characters to bizarre and overwhelming situations.
After these themes dominated the novelist’s best work, including The Metamorphosis and The Castle, the term Kafkaesque was coined to describe these nightmarish scenarios his characters find themselves in.
Kafka died at the age of 40 from tuberculosis in 1924, and despite ordering his friend and literary estate Max Brod to destroy his unfinished work, Brod ignored his request and published them after his death.
Meet the cast of Beau Is Afraid
Joaquin Phoenix is the titular character about to embark on a Kafkaesque nightmare of his own, as we follow Beau through different stages of his life.
Amy Ryan of The Office fame and Parker Posey from Netflix’s Lost in Space are also some of the talent joining this weird and wonderful story.
Below, we have included the full cast list for Beau Is Afraid:
- Joaquin Phoenix – Beau Wassermann
- Armen Nahapetian – teen Beau
- Patti LuPone – Mona Wassermann
- Zoe Lister-Jones – young Mona
- Amy Ryan – Grace
- Nathan Lane – Roger
- Kylie Rogers – Toni
- Denis Ménochet – Jeeves
- Parker Posey – Elaine Bray
- Julia Antonelli – teen Elaine
- Stephen McKinley Henderson – the therapist
- Richard Kind – Dr. Cohen
- Hayley Squires – Penelope
- Michael Gandolfini – one of Beau’s sons
By Jo Craig – [email protected]
Beau Is Afraid is now in cinemas worldwide.