Kafka's tale The Metamorphosis (1912) has been adapted for film several times, most recently by Russian stage director Valery Fokin who dedicated his version to his late Czech colleague Petr Lebl. Unlike directors who avoided imitating the physical transformation of the commercial traveller Samsa into a beetle, Fokin allows excellent actor Yevgeny Mironov to perform his physical deformation. He thus intensifies the hopelessness of Samsa's situation and the inevitability of his essential degradation – induced both by a despotic father and his detested job – and the absence of any goal in life. Samsa, trampled upon by the disgust of his own family, realises the futility of his existence in a world without love and compassion. Fokin shapes the film into a metaphor of the total expulsion of the individual from society, creating an image of self-destructive isolation. In accordance with the surrealist spirit of the story, the hero's inner reflections are represented by dream-like visions streaming from the depths of his subconscious.

About the director

Valery Fokin (1946) completed his studies in theater direction at the Shchukin School affiliated to the Vakhtangov theater in Moscow. In 1971 he became director of the Sovremennik Theater where he chiefly produced plays by contemporary Russian playwrights (Roshchin, Volodin, Vampilov, Rozov etc.). After his graduation productions of Gogol's The Nose and Maupassant's Balls of Suet, he sought opportunities to fulfil his own interest in the Russian classics (Gogol, Dostoyevsky) and to produce adaptations of novels. As perestroika took a hold, he became artistic director of the N.M. Yermolova Theater in 1984 where he produced a number of socially topical works (Buravsky, Dozortsev, Radzinsky, Nabokov). He initiated the founding of the Creative Workshops within the Russian Union of Theater Artists, later renamed the V. Meyerhold Creative Centre, which became the focal point in Fokin's later career. The Meyerhold Centre produced a variation on Gogol's Dead Souls and Kafka's The Metamorphosis, highly praised by Russian and foreign critics. Fokin also appears as a guest theater director abroad.