Junge Törless, Der (1966)

A profound psychological-thriller, homoerotic-drama set in an Austrian all-boys military school with thinly veiled messages about the Nazi era.

At Prince Eugen Boarding School in the early 1900s Austro-Hungarian Empire, students Reiting (Fred Dietz) and Beineberg (Bernd Tischer) torture one of their fellow classmates, Anselm von Basini (Marian Seidowsky), who eventually admits stealing money from Beineberg to pay off a debt to Reiting. The two decide that rather than turn Basini in to the school authorities, they will punish him themselves and proceed to torture, degrade, and humiliate the boy, with ever-increasing sadistic delight. As each day passes, the two boys are able to justify harsher treatment than previously given.

They will make him the victim to compensate for their frustrated sexuality, because of a latent homosexuality. A scene in which they're looking at erotic photographs is telling. And not the first to come. Someone different. Only difference can lead to inferiority. The poor lad stole some stuff, and now his mates can threaten him to reveal the whole thing to the world. While certain aspects of the film, the gay subplot for instance, are deliberately repressed due to the era, the implications are enough to give the events additional potency.

Shy, intelligent Thomas Törless (Mathieu Carrière) is a passive member of the group but observes rather than participates in the homoerotic bullying and frustrates the tormentors by dryly analysing their behaviour, treating it as an emotionless academic exercise. As Törless watches the tormenters exact their form of punishment, with no end in sight, he comes to a conclusion about not only what he thinks of his fellow classmates, but of the school as a whole.