"Gene and Gladys had been given these Empathy pills by their marriage counselor" remembers studio engineer Bobby Battenburg. "After Gene and The Intruders had laid down ‘I’ll Always Love My Momma’, the medication got passed around the studio and a crazy little shindig started. Everyone who was anyone in Philly dropped by to party. I saw Bill Cosby and Noam Chomsky sharing a blunt, and James Caan teaching a card trick to Patti Labelle. As the sun was rising, Gladys got the musicians and a few of her girls together and set to recording this great new song of hers. All she said was ‘Play it slow and woozy, boys’. Great drugs and a great track. Those pills never saved the marriage though. Ten months later they were divorced".
The German filmmaker Harun Farocki appears as one of the leads, and the film also features a cameo from American experimental filmmaker Thom Andersen.
A documentary was made about the filming process: “Jean-Marie Straub und Danièle Huillet bei der Arbeit an einem Film”.
As Franz Kafka never visited the United States, the film was intentionally shot in Europe, with the bulk of shooting occurring in Germany. During the opening scene, the replica of the Statue of Liberty located on the Seine is used as a stand-in for the real Statue of Liberty, and the film features prominently architecture, flora and costuming (including a policeman in a bobby helmet) that is unlikely to be found in the United States. Though Huillet and Straub are both French, the film was shot in German, the language the original book was written in.