Volker Schlöndorff is arguably one of the most important and internationally successful German directors. He is possessed with a pronounced fondness for bringing German and international literary classics to the screen. Schlöndorff will screen Young Törless (1966) and will discuss German film in the sixties. Part of the conference 1968 in Europe and Latin America sponsored jointly by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies of the Keough School of Global Affairs.
At an Austrian boys’ boarding school in the early 1900s, shy, intelligent Törless observes the sadistic behavior of his fellow students, doing nothing to help a victimized classmate — until the torture goes too far. Adapted from Robert Musil’s acclaimed novel, Young Törless launched the New German Cinema movement and garnered the 1966 Cannes Film Festival International Critics’ Prize for first-time director Volker Schlöndorff.
About the Director
Volker Schlöndorff is arguably one of the most important and internationally successful German directors. He is possessed with a pronounced fondness for bringing German and international literary classics to the screen. He enthusiastically attends to works that have been considered “unfilmable” and makes them accessible and comprehensible to larger audiences. His repertoire also includes socio-critical works. All of his films are ambitious, but also aim to entertain.
Schlöndorff was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, on March 31, 1939. He spent his childhood in nearby Schlangenbad, but left his Hessian home at a young age for France. Two months there turned into ten years, allowing Schlöndorff to spend most of his youth in Paris. It is here that he completed his schooling and also laid the foundation for his journey into film.
In 1964, Schlöndorff directed his first feature film, Young Törless, which won several awards and was the first international success for the budding movement of the New German Cinema. Several films should follow, like the quirky, mischievous genre-mix A Degree of Murder or the journey into the Heimatfilm-genre, The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach, as well as the Western-inspired literary-adaptation Michael Kohlhaas or the emancipation-tale A Free Woman.
More successful films were to follow, like The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, which he co-directed with Margarethe von Trotta or Schlöndorff’s biggest success to date, his film-version of Günter Grass’ The Tin Drum, for which he received an Academy Award.
Film Series: The Spirit of ’68
In all respects, 1968 was a watershed year on both sides of the Atlantic. Social and political divisions exploded as a result of unresolved domestic conflicts and military actions abroad. Everywhere the boundaries of conventional behavior and social mores were tested.
At the same time, and in the context of these conflicts, 1968 was a year of remarkable creativity in the arts. These developments went hand in hand with innovative experiments in life-styles and community living, an expanded awareness of environmental dangers, and new forms of democratic participation.
Like the other arts, cinema captured the spirit of the times. Perhaps no better focus for attention came from music, where live concerts became vehicles for exploring all the innovation that the spirit of ’68 had to offer.
All films will be shown in the THX-certified Browning Cinema at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, $5 for ND/SMC faculty/staff, and $4 for students/children at 574-631-2800, or visit performingarts.nd.edu.
Free tickets are available while supplies last at the Nanovic Institute for European Studies (1060 Nanovic Hall).
Originally published at nanovic.nd.edu.