Director: Volker SchlÃ¶ndorff
Year Released: 1966
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....