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Film Studies: Torless

  • Motion Media Arts Project 2200 Tillery Street Austin, TX, 78723 United States (map)

In advance of this week’s discussion group on Toxic Masculinity and the rise of Trump, we invite you to join us for Monday night’s free film screening of Volker Schlondorff’s tragically under-viewed 1966 post-war film, Young Torless, 7pm at the Motion Media Arts Center (2200 Tillery St.). The film follows Torless, a gifted student at a pre-war Austrian boarding school who witnesses and participates in “the ‘normal traumatization’ of boys,” as Terrence Real put it in last week’s bell hooks reading. Based on a novel by early 20th century philosopher Robert Musil, the film observes the cruelties and disciplinary functions of adolescent masculinity. 

More to the point, it explores how this violent behavior is rationalized and normalized, both internally and systemically. This will be crucially helpful as we think through the rise of the alt-right in the U.S., and the ways in which the current president’s most toxic behavior has been normalized, excused, and even embraced as an expression of his “strength” and “manhood.” Though the film was intended as a socio-psychological study of the rise of fascism in Nazi Germany, chilling correlations to our own moment lie just below the surface.

Trigger warnings: hazing torture, implied rape, adolescent boys behaving very badly

Earlier Event: April 5
Understanding Patriarchy
Later Event: April 12
Trump and Toxic Masculinity