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The Night Porter

By Paula Nechak

For those who like their love stories dipped in decadence, Liliana Cavani's dark and disturbing 1974 drama--about a concentration camp survivor who fatefully comes face to face with her ex-Nazi captor and lover--has held up quite well over the years despite its sensationalistic tone. It helps that the mysterious, cobra-eyed Charlotte Rampling plays the survivor, Lucia, and that the unctuous and languid British actor, Dirk Bogarde, is former SS officer Max, a now-benign night porter at the Vienna hotel where the pair coincidentally collides. There is a haunted hollowness to these characters that resigns them to relive the sordid past that tragically binds them. Criterion's DVD offers the film in its best available condition, and the color has been restored to enhance its symbolic significance. The Night Porter (Il Portiere di notte) uses landscape as character, and its desaturated tones evoke memory of the Holocaust and a shady 1950s Vienna plagued by post-World War II guilt. In fact, this is a film full of shadows and shame, and Max and Lucia are victims of this frightening world in which nothing can be trusted and around every corner lurk spies in their house of forbidden love.

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Liliana Cavani

Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Charlotte Rampling, Isa Miranda

Released: October 4, 1974

Availability: DVD VHS


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