Young Törless (1966) Poster

Mathieu Carrière: Thomas Törless



  • Thomas Törless : Yet another day to tell our grandchildren about.

  • Thomas Törless : I can't help it if it's not what you think. Perhaps I haven't learned enough to express myself clearly, but I'll attempt to describe it. Basini was a student like any other. A perfectly normal person. Suddenly he stumbled. I'd thought of these things before - humiliation and degradation - but I'd never experienced them. But it happened to Basini. I had to admit it was possible that man wasn't created good or bad once and for all. We all keep changing ceaselessly. We exist only by virtue of our actions. But if we allow ourselves to change to where we become torturers or sacrificial animals, then anything is possible. Then even the most horrific things become simply possible. Then there's no line between good and evil, and both merge imperceptibly. Then perfectly normal people can do terrible things. The only question then was, "How is this possible?" To observe this, I let these things go unreported. I wanted to know how it was possible. What happens when a person humiliates himself or suddenly turns cruel? I used to think it would mean the end of the world. Now I know differently. What seems so horrific, so incomprehensible from afar, simply happens. Quietly and naturally. Therefore one must be continually on guard. That's what I've learned.

  • [last lines] 

    Mutter Törless : What's wrong, Thomas?

    Thomas Törless : Nothing, Mom. I was just thinking about something.

  • [first lines] 

    Vater Törless : Beineberg, please keep an eye on my son.

    Beineberg : You can count on me, sir.

    Vater Törless : That's a relief. I trust you. Something solid and decisive about you won me over instantly. Cigar?

    Beineberg : Thank you, sir.

    Vater Törless : I wish my boy were more like you. He always seems so insecure, so unbalanced. I have no idea what he'll amount to. I'm glad to have met you all. And knowing our son is with you makes saying goodbye easier. Especially since he's found such good comrades. Gentlemen, please contact us immediately should anything happen to my son.

    Thomas Törless : What could happen, dad?

    Vater Törless : You understand, Mr. Beineberg?

    Beineberg : Absolutely, sir.

  • Thomas Törless : Isn't that like an eye?

    Beineberg : You getting poetic on us?

    Thomas Törless : No, but isn't it like an eye into some strange world?

  • Reiting : Your guardian angel Törless will have his fun with you too.

    Thomas Törless : No, Reiting, I won't.

    Reiting : Just like that?

    Thomas Törless : Yeah, just like that. I was looking for something before.

    Reiting : Second sight, eh?

    Thomas Törless : Yes. And now all I see is brutality.

    Reiting : You should see Basini eat dirt. You'd get a real kick out of it.

    Thomas Törless : I'm not interested.

    Reiting : But you used to be.

    Thomas Törless : Because Basini's condition was a mystery to me.

    Reiting : And now?

    Thomas Törless : There's no mystery there. Things just happen. Anything's possible. There's not an evil world and a good world. They exist together in the same world.

  • Anselm von Basini : [on Beineberg]  Same as Reiting, only in another way. He preaches to me at length about my soul. He has me sit down and stare at a glass until I'm sluggish and tired. Then I have to get on the ground and howl like a dog.

    Thomas Törless : What for?

    Anselm von Basini : I have no idea.

    Thomas Törless : And you let them do all that to you? You do what they tell you?

    Anselm von Basini : What else can I do? I want to be a decent person again and be left in peace.

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