An Austrian boys boarding school in the early 1900s, shy, intellectual Törless observes the sadistic behavior of his fellow students, doing nothing to help a victimized classmateuntil the torture has gone too far. Adapted from Robert Musil's acclaimed novel, Young Törless
launched the New German Cinema movement and garnered the 1966 Cannes Film Festival International Film Critics' prize for first-time director Volker Schlöndorff.
When speaking of Jean Renoir's timeless masterpiece The River
, one can easily exhaust their supply of superlatives. Frequently listed among the greatest films ever made, it was Renoir's first English-language film and his first in color
and what rich, astonishing Technicolor it is! Shot by Renoir's nephew Claude, the film is a love letter to India, seen through the eyes (and narrated as memories) of an adolescent British girl living with her family near the banks of the Ganges, a location which allowed Renoir to indulge his burgeoning affection for the region, it's people, and the exotic allure of the Orient. Under challenging conditions, Renoir and author Rumer Godden adapted Godden's autobiographical novel into an elegant, loosely plotted reflection on the romance of India, and on coming of age in a culture that, until then, few Western filmgoers had ever seen on screen. (To enhance this journey to a new world, Renoir used Indian music recorded live in Calcutta instead of a traditional score; the effect is hypnotically inviting.) Blessed with eternal lessons of life, death, and love, The River
offers a transcendent film experience, guaranteed to touch the heart of anyone who sees it. The film was meticulously restored to its original glory in 2004; Criterion's DVD release preserves that restoration with a pristine digital transfer. --Jeff Shannon