The Night Porter (1974)

LILIANA CAVANI

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5

Original title:  Il Portiere Di Notte

Italy1974.  Lotar Film Productions.  Story by Liliana Cavani, , , Screenplay by Liliana Cavani, , collaboration with Barbara Alberti, .   Cinematography by .   Produced by .   Music by .   Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Sleazy but oddly enjoyable film that is one of the most memorably controversial European films to be released in the United States. Dirk Bogarde plays a former Nazi officer now working as a night porter in an Italian hotel, who is surprised to find that one of the residents in his establishment is actually the young woman (the ever alluring Charlotte Rampling) he once tortured in a concentration camp.  She falls completely apart when she realizes who he is, but then later finds herself strangely drawn to him because the pain he caused her made her feel more alive than the relative comfort she lives in now. Sounds horrendously offensive in description, but the actual playing out of it is curiously romantic and affectionate. Rampling is defiantly sexy, and director Liliana Caviani enjoys finding the human experience within the perversity of the story she is telling. Beautiful cinematography and a lush, haunting score are pluses.

The Criterion Collection:  #59

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