“A modern fairy tale: once upon a time there was a girl who set forth to experience the shivers and scares.”
A girl, a weapon, a shot – and a dead body that immediately needs to be removed. A story without repentance or moral. There is a scene in DER JUNGE TÖRLESS (Young Törless) that hints at Schlöndorff’s second film: In the newspaper, under the headline “Blood and Thunder”, Beineberg reads about an unusual case:
Eight years of dungeon for murder – Until the age of 19 Wilhelmine worked as a waitress at a café in Graz. Then she met the deserted soldier Günther K., who brought her into prostitution and let her work for him. To the judge’s question why she had done it Wilhelmine responded: “I was submissive in bondage to him. When Günther was bringing me to my work place on Wiener Straße that evening I told him: I don’t feel like it tonight. Günther responded: so, then sleep with me. I didn’t want that either, so I fought back and Günther beat me and became angry with me. Then, as always, I had to kneel down before him and pray to him as my God so that he would again be good to me. In the course of that night I shot him in his bed.”
In reality, Schlöndorff had read this article in the Munich evening newspaper, which gave him a vast amount of material for his next film, which “should not be literature, but finally Nouvelle Vague, here and today” (Schlöndorff). After Hans has packed his bags to finally leave Marie, he starts to force her to sleep with him one last time. Even as Marie fights back, he does not stop. She grasps the weapon and shoots. Eventually she meets Günther in a pub whom she persuades to help her dispose the corps—a road trip into the countryside begins and the murder is put into the background.
“No real love story develops, but some sort of friendship that goes beyond the natural companionship.”