Young Torless

“Set in a boys' boarding school in turn-of-the-century Germany, Young Torless is a beautiful movie about the cruelty of man - and the coming of the Nazis. It was the first film by leading West German filmmaker Volker Schlondorff, and one of the first films to signal the beginnings, in 1966, of the German Film Renaissance. Steele does not star; she plays a supporting role. But it is, along with 8-1/2, her favorite performance. ‘It was a wonderful role,' she recalls. ‘It wasn't very large, but I had something to do in it. You can feel the repression, the winter landscape, the barrenness, the snow, the excessive moral codes, so severe and cruel. I was the only element that had any warmth. I was a whore, I had a baby, I breast-fed this baby, and I wasn't broken spiritually. It was a very warm role, and a funky role. I could be in a sloppy old dress and a cardigan; it didn't matter how I looked.'”

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