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YOUNG TORLESS

West Germany, 1966 (MIFF 1968, Programme 2)

Director: Volker Schlöndorff

This faithful screen version of Robert Musil's well-known novel is a major work of the new German cinema. Set in a remote Austrian boarding school before the First World War. the story centres on one of the pupils. Törless—handsome, vain, detached. When he arrives at the school, he adopts an attitude of philosophical objectivity, accepting life as an abstract force over which he has no control. A student steals some money from another, and is discovered by two senior students who subsequently blackmail and sadistically torture him. Törless finds himself part of this ritual, and his solution to the problem of his inaction becomes the dramatic conflict of the story. The central theme of the film then emerges: the domination of the strong over the weak—man over man—man over group—group over nation.

F.I.P.R.E.S.C.I Award, Cannes.

Schlöndorff, one time assistant to Malle and Resnais, uses a stark, almost documentary approach to the world of Törless. The boys in the cast are all non-professional actors who are faithful personifications of the types in the book. Matthieu Carriere, as Törless, gives a magnificant portrayal of Musil's central character.

See also...

ULZHAN

Germany/Kazakhstan/France, 2006
A patient journey to the heart of the ancient Central Asian steppe where one man is hunting for treasure. But perhaps he's also trying to save his soul… Driven by a mysterious force, a Parisia… More »

THE SUDDEN FORTUNE OF THE PEOPLE OF KOMBACH

West Germany, 1971
Within the framework of a social parable, the film attempts to show how easily the structure of a society works to prevent the under-privileged from recognising their true position. Dealing with the … More »

THE TIN DRUM

West Germany, 1979
Volker Schlondörff has been at the head of German production since the mid-sixties when the revival in quality commenced. His earlier films like Young Torless, The Lost Honour of Katherina Blum, The… More »

SUMMER LIGHTNING

Germany, 1972
Summer Lightning is directed by Volker Schlondorff who has won an international reputation with films like Young Torless and The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach, and it stars his wife, Ma… More »

THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM

Germany, 1975
Katharina Blum is a divorcee, young, attractive and shy. At a party, she meets a young man and they go back to her apartment. In the morning, heavily armed police burst in, but the young man has alre… More »

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