Franz Kafka was once a German author, famous for his downright depressing stories. I’ve only read one work of his (about a salaryman, turning into a huge beetle and then dying from loneliness), but I can fully understand why he got that reputation. A Country Doctor is the interpretation of director Koji Yamamura, the director of Atama Yama on one of the guy’s short stories.
I think it’s already apparent through the screenshots, but the director went for a surreal approach with this 20-minute long movie. The character-designs are constantly warping into strange shapes, and the entire movie is chock-full of symbolism about the old country doctor that plays the main character in this story. You might need a second viewing in order to fully understand what’s going on.
Overall, I liked a country doctor. It’s a great short horror-ish story, but I do think that the director went a bit too overboard with his visual effects. The warped character-designs only distract from what’s really important in the movie, and the plot doesn’t flow as smoothly as you’d like at times. It’s just like Shoji Kawamura’s Spring and Chaos: you want to give a classic writer too much credit and go overboard with the style so that the style actually works against it a bit.
Nevertheless, the art style does look great and apart from a few humps and bumps along the way, the story is well-told for such a short time of 20 minutes and it gives a good look inside the mind of the titular country doctor. A country Doctor is obviously not for everyone (stay FAR away if you hate depressing stories), but if you’re looking for something surreal and have half an hour to burn, then why not give it a chance?