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Young Törless

Director:  Volker Schlöndorff
Year Released:  1966
Rating:  2.0

A student at an all-boys school is victimized by his peers in retribution for stealing money - the punishment exceeds the crime, and he's regularly stabbed, whipped, humiliated or sexually violated (or some combination of the above). It doubles as an allegory for Nazi-era Germany (with the tortured student representing the Jewish population) but is morally and ethically problematic, particularly in its creation of one-dimensional "aggressors" - and "victim" - as well as letting the title anti-hero off the hook: the argument that Törless' reticence to aid the abused is somehow justified by his warped worldview ("Everything's both good and evil! I'll go for a walk now...") is frankly revolting. It's also disrespectful towards the abused student, whose storyline is never concluded (he's merely a symbol for Schlöndorff) - for all we know, he could still be hanging upside down from the gymnasium ceiling....

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