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Young Torless (1966)

Der junge Törless (original title)
Approved | | Drama, History, Thriller | 22 July 1968 (USA)
At a boarding school in the pre-war Austro-Hungarian Empire, a pair of students torture one of their fellow classmates, Basini, who has been caught stealing money from one of the two. The ... See full summary »

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(novel), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Mathieu Carrière ...
Marian Seidowsky ...
Anselm von Basini
Bernd Tischer ...
Beineberg
Fred Dietz ...
Reiting
Lotte Ledl ...
Gastwirtin
Jean Launay ...
Mathematiklehrer
...
Bozena
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Storyline

At a boarding school in the pre-war Austro-Hungarian Empire, a pair of students torture one of their fellow classmates, Basini, who has been caught stealing money from one of the two. The two decide that rather than turn Basini in to the school authorities, they will punish him themselves and proceed to torture, degrade, and humiliate the boy, with ever-increasing sadistic delight. As each day passes, the two boys are able to justify harsher treatment than previously given. Torless is a passive member of the group but observes rather than participates and frustrates the tormentors by dryly analyzing their behavior. Written by Dean Harris <gershom@earthlink.net>

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Details

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Release Date:

22 July 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Young Torless  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

First feature film directed by Volker Schlöndorff. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The South Bank Show: Werner Herzog (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

Punching bag and imaginary numbers.
12 October 2001 | by See all my reviews

Young Toerless is some kind of whizz kid,ahead of his time.Played by the phenomenal Matthieu Carrière -who was only 16 at the time;I 'm looking for another actor ,able to play such an intellectual part,at such an early age!-He worries about imaginary(complex) numbers.For him,a square is positive,so the existence of such numbers (the square root of -1 can be i or -i)eludes him.He admits they are useful in geometry(rotations,similitaries)or trigonometry or even to build bridges,but he 's got to admit it without understanding the mathematical concept(You'll find out when you know ten times more in maths,the teacher says)During the movie,he will discover that a lot of things in life have to be admitted without a proof.

The film takes place in an old secondary school,in Austria,at the beginning of the 20th century,while Francis Joseph-whose photographs are pinned everywhere- was still the regnant emperor .This is the end of an era ,1914 is not far away. An iron discipline,students in uniform,the necessary and sufficient condition for the emergence of oppressors and their punching bag.

Two students choose one of their mates as a victim (to make up for their frustrated sexuality,because of a latent homosexuality?Ascene in which they're looking at erotic photographs is telling)And not the first to come!Someone different.Only difference can lead to inferiority. The poor lad stole some stuff,and now his mates can threaten him to reveal the whole thing to the teachers if...

So begin more and more sadistic scenes,culminating with the one at the gymnasium(A symbol : a punch bag is generally a sport outcast) where almost everyone inflicts moral and physical tortures on him.The former is the most humiliating:one of the cowards reads a letter from the unfortunate boy's mother,a widow sometimes unable to make ends meet-all the others are very rich kids-,making a fool of her.

And Toerless?He's primarily a spectator.Not exactly a peeping tom,but someone who uses the whole school,and its particularities,as an experiment behind closed doors.Evil exists as imaginary numbers do,we have to cope with it,even if we cannot understand its source.He will not intervene to help his neighbor,worse,he will shun the sound and the fury,which may infuriate many people who watch this movie.Actually,for Toerless, and for the teachers-who do not seem to be that much angry when they discover the horrible things that happen behind their walls,they are worthy forerunners of Nazis who thought the feeble ,the sick and the "different" one had to be eliminated-,the punch bag story is almost an abstract fact,which they intellectualize to a fault.

Matthieu Carrière has never made the career he deserved."Die jungeToerless" is not exactly an entertaining movie,but if you are looking for something different,this might be your cup of tea.


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