Ovular Logic

In the opening scene of Orson Welles’ 1962 adaptation of The Trial, a suddenly awakened and apparently under arrest Mr. K. (Anthony Perkins) responds to the oblique requests of police inspectors. One inspector begins to document the evidence in the room by writing in a notebook. This writing, we learn in several ways, is a flawed record, subject to the errors of the observer and observed and also embedded within a greater logic of accusation which imbues each “fact” with the suggestion of an already-settled narrative. Anticipating that the inspectors may be looking for pornography, for example, K. mistakenly refers to his record player as his “pornograph.” The inspector taking notes writes this down, and this “finding” comes up later. Is K. concealing something? Is he lying?


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