On Wednesday, February 2, 1975, the night before Fat Thursday (last Thursday before Lent), a young woman, aged 27, leaves her apartment at around 18.45 o’clock to join a private dance. Four days later, after a dramatic development during Sunday evening at around the same time – at 19.04 o’clock to be more precise – she rings the door bell at the police chief inspector Walter Moeding’s apartment and testifies that she has shot the journalist Werner Tötges at around 12.15 in her apartment …

    Those are four days in the life of Katharina Blum that completely change everything. A police swap raids her apartment the morning after she had met Ludwig Götten at a carnival party and took him home: Her lover is supposed to be a bank robber and she is the alleged accomplice in his escape. Katharina is brought to the police station where she is held and grilled for hours. The local press reports right from the first hour: by obtaining insider tips through the police interrogation protocols and dubious investigation methods the press is able to publish day after day highly exclusive stories about the “hussy”, the “mol”. It is the beginning of a documentation of medial humiliation – until the moment Katharina will avenge her mental murder by a physical murder.

    Right away I saw what a dirty swine he was – a real dirty swine. He said, why that dumfounded look my flower – I propose I bang you now. I thought: “bang, o.k..” – and I grabbed the pistol and immediately shot him.

    Collage: "Carnival Party"-sequence with excerpts from the shooting script

    Volker Schlöndorff on the music

    Volker Schlöndorff on the cast

    Volker Schlöndorff on the reception of the film

    From our archive