Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Die Verlorene Ehre Der Katharina Blum
West Germany, 1975. Bioskop Film, Paramount-Orion Filmproduktion, Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Screenplay by Volker Schlondorff, Margarethe von Trotta, based on the novel by Heinrich Boll. Cinematography by Jost Vacano. Produced by Eberhard Junkersdorf, Gunther Witte. Music by Hans Werner Henze. Production Design by Ute Burgmann, Gunther Naumann. Costume Design by Reinhild Paul, Annette Schaad. Film Editing by Peter Przygodda.
Riveting indictment of modern society is still just as meaningful today as it was when originally released in 1975. Katharina Blum (Angela Winkler) is a modest housekeeper who meets a handsome man at a party (Jürgen Prochnow) and spends the night with him. The next morning, the police burst into her apartment (which Prochnow has already left) and accuse her of harbouring a known criminal and terrorist, leading to a smear campaign by the media (in frightening collusion with the conservative police force) to paint her as an accomplice to crimes she has no idea about. Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta have made a searing film that captures, with documentary-like precision, the experiences of someone whose day-to-day life of happenstance and routine is suddenly made into the fodder of scandal for viciously slanderous, classist, sexist minds. The end result is the fate of a woman who is judged so harshly that it pushes her to madness. Excellent direction, writing and editing, and a magnificent performance by Winkler in the lead; her intensity alone makes sure that your attention never flags for an instant.
The Criterion Collection: #177