Midnights: THE NIGHT PORTER
May 12 @ 11:55 pm
“Whether the film is deemed gutsy or cynical, [Bogarde and Rampling] give bravely evocative performances with undeniable staying power, from the brilliantly ambivalent moment of mutual recognition in the film’s opening minutes through its caustic, hardboiled denouement.” – Brooklyn Magazine
“A provocative and problematic film. … [I]t can be seen as an exercise in perversion and exploitation of the Holocaust for the sake of sensationalism. On the other hand, a closer reading of this English-language psychological thriller suggests a dark vision of compelling characters doomed by their World War II past.” – Annette Insdorf, Criterion Collection
The psychology of a sadomasochistic relationship between a former Nazi storm trooper and the concentration camp prisoner he loved provides the basis of this provocative, at times sexually and violently graphic drama. The story is set in the late ’50s at a Viennese hotel that is owned by and plays host to former Nazis who get their kicks at the sadistic hands of the hotel porter, the ex-trooper. His illusion of safety is shattered when a woman and her husbaheck into the hotel and he recognizes her as the woman with whom he had a very kinky relationship in the concentration camp. They soon rekindle their painful relationship.
Dir. Liliana Cavani. 1974. 115 min.