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Young Toerless (junge Toerless, Der)

Young Toerless

Toerless is a pupil in an ancient and remote boarding school, shortly before the first World War. The school class has developed into a kind of small society with a well-developed ruling clique. Toerless is an individualist who finds it difficult to fit into this society - yet he is generally respected. One day he finds out that money has been stolen from one of the boys. Soon after, the thief, Basini, who is another schoolboy, is caught, and almost by coincidence, Toerless finds himself taking part in the class's mock trial. The leaders of the class make use of Basini's petty crime to blackmail him and to use him as a slave, trying out their obscure theories of life on him. Their supposedly intellectual experiments result in almost sadistic excesses. Toerless watches the distribution of power between these young men and their slave and the behaviour of the rest of the class, who follow the whole proceedings as if they were the Chorus in a Greek tragedy. What Toerless sees awakens in him a feeling of moral obligation. He advises Basini to turn himself in. In this way, the matter is brought to the attention of the school authorities. Toerless tries to justify himself to his teachers, but they find it difficult to comprehend his explanations. He leaves the boarding school, proud of his realizations, in fact, he is already on the way to becoming a man without distinction.
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 1965
Director Volker Schlöndorff
Screenplay Volker Schlöndorff
Cinematography Franz Rath
Claus von Boro
Hans Werner Henze
Cast Matthieu Carrière, Marian Seidowski, Jean Launey
Producer Franz Seitz
Production Company Seitz Filmproduktion/Munich, in co-production with Les Nouvelles Editions de Films/Paris
Runtime 90 min
Format 35 mm, b&w
Subtitled Versions English, Japanese, Dutch, Spanish
Sound Technology Mono
Festivals Cannes 1965 (official selection), Nantes 1966, San Sebastian 2002 (Retrospective)
Awards FIPRESCI Award Cannes 1965, German Film Award 1966
German Distributor STUDIOCANAL/Berlin