Skip to main content

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...

THE SUDDEN FORTUNE OF THE PEOPLE OF KOMBACH

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

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 »

THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM

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 ... More »

SUMMER LIGHTNING

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 ... More »

COUP DE GRÂCE

Coup de grace is set in an unnamed Baltic State, in 1919 After the Russian Revolution, the defeated Germans sent volunteer troops to join the Expeditionary Forces fighting the revolutionaries At that ... More »

THE RATS

The Rats opens in the atmosphere of postwar Berlin. Figures emerge from their symbolic darkness to stand before us with an almost agonising actuality. Two world wars, the disintegrating effects of ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director