The Night Porter

The Night Porter

DVD - 2014
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A concentration camp survivor discovers her former torturer and lover working as a porter at a hotel in postwar Vienna. When the couple attempts to re-create their sadomasochistic relationship, his former SS comrades begin to stalk them. Operatic and disturbing, it deftly examines the lasting social and psychological effects of the Nazi regime.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : [Publisher not identified], [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781604659290
Characteristics: video file,DVD video
digital,optical
1 videodisc (118 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.

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p
patch666
Sep 11, 2017

Great film >>> classic of alternative European 70's cinema. Trangressive and thoughtfull. slow burning and great mise en scene. Love it !!!!

l
lukasevansherman
May 17, 2017

Italian filmmaker Liliana Cavani's 1974 film is still polarizing after 4 decades and, for perhaps the first time on this website, I agree with every commentator. I guess it is testimony to the film's icky power that it provokes strong reactions, but it's hard to recommend and harder to enjoy. I do take issue with the comment (by Derringer) that its failures are because Cavani is a woman. "The Night Porter" is a strange and uneasy hybrid of the intense erotic art films of the 70s ("Last Tango," "In the Realm of the Senses") and the sicko fascust film ("Salo," "The Damned"). In fact, stars Charlotte Rampling and Dick Bogarde were both in Visconti's "The Damned," the most famous of the decadent Nazi films. The almost unwatchable "Salo" is maybe the only one that goes far enough. "The Damned" and "The Night Porter" focus on the personal immorality of the Nazis, but take their larger crimes for granted. Anyway, if you're at all interested in foreign art films of the 70s, you do have to see this, but its a dreary experience and the sex is sordid, which is probably the point. Note: This an earlier Criterion release and it has no special features. They have re-released the film with more features, but I don't think the library has the updated version.

t
thepudman
Mar 03, 2017

Artsy? Yes. Slow? You bet. Long, drawn out scenes that could have been edited? Yes. Odd. Of course. Recommended? No.

d
Derringer
Nov 24, 2016

I think that this potentially promising film (from 1974), that dealt with the realm of humiliation, degradation and S&M, suffered significantly by being both written and directed by a woman. (Sorry if that sounds sexist to you, but it's the truth)

When it came to Italian film-maker, Liliana Cavani's involvement with The Night Porter, I got the clear impression that she wanted said-film to be more about tenderness and reconciliation, rather than being about Nazi depravity and sexual deviance.

This film's biggest problem was that it continually skirted around its implied sadomasochistic subject matter so often (inserting one flashback after another) that its whole storyline became confused and annoying to watch, in the long run.

To me, The Night Porter was one of those films that seriously cried out for some major editing. At an over-long 2-hour running time, this one's story seemed to go on endlessly without really saying very much of interest to this more-than-dissatisfied viewer.

n
Nursebob
Mar 07, 2016

Filmed in dreary shades of blue and grey and with a perverse carnality more melancholy than erotic, writer/director Liliana Cavani’s attempt to compare the lingering psychological effects of the Third Reich to a destructive tale of deviant sexuality and amour fou is only partially successful. Max and Lucia’s twisted couplings are given context through the use of flashbacks, rendered almost metaphorical by time and subjective memory, which show their current sexual games as mere echoes from the days when she cowered in her striped prison rags and he loomed larger than life in his jackboots and swastika. But the comparison grows tiresome after a while as their dreary sex and reproachful stares begin to repeat and the gathering storm around them elicits more tedium than tension. Rampling and Bogarde work beautifully together however, their quiet psychopathology making grim mockery of their assigned roles as victim and oppressor. It’s a pity Cavani’s script couldn’t keep up.

r
Ron@Ottawa
Jan 09, 2016

This film is 40 years old and by today's standard still controversial. It is a psychological drama about the strange and twisted bonding between an ex-German officer and one of his concentration camp victims. If you put aside the 'exploitation' sentiment, this film offers moments of eroticism and a pretty good sound track. One short ballet dance scene by a solo male dancer was exceptionally performed. Definitely worth a watch in my opinion.

p
pl8
Dec 02, 2015

Rather appalled by previous comments on this film. If you people want porn, try the internet instead of art house cinema. Its not an erotic film, not intended to be an erotic film and there's no to little S&M bondage. Its a psychological drama. Honestly, it seems that this films inaccurate reputation can be attributed to the self-absorption of the S&M community.

This is a difficult and challenging film. It does not attempt to make bold statements about morality regarding the Nazis (perhaps because Cavani respects her audience and does not think she has to). It is a love story on the backdrop of horrendous circumstances. In fact its misguided of the S&M community to adopt this film since that aspect of the characters relationship is what warps it. These are two people who are completely in love as equals. The madness and cruelty of their relationship is all that they can fall back on in order to recreate what they had. They are doomed and the lingering influence of the Nazi's can still get in their way even after the war.

And the transfer is fine. The color is desaturated on purpose by Cavani, giving it a lifeless look which works. You'll notice that the acting matches this, especially in the flashback scenes. That most famous image of Rampling doing a striptease is far from titillating as the stoic, lifeless faces of her captures watch and is clearly more influenced by, say, Hannah Arendt than S&M.

I am sure that this film is not for everyone. If you must root for characters and relate to them in order to escape into the narrative and live through others, this film may not be for you. If you can observe characters in foreign situations and understand them without it being all about you the viewer, you may find it compelling.

b
Bang_On
Sep 24, 2015

*WARNING!* - Don't let this DVD's tantalizingly provocative cover art of a young Charlotte Rampling in leatherette, Nazi gear fool you - 'Cause, believe me, when it comes to the likes of kink and depravity (with a bitter slice of S&M thrown in for good measure), The Night Porter plays it way too safe, and, unfortunately, doesn't deliver the wallop that it most certainly should have.

Yes. This train wreck (of a Romeo & Juliet story) did contain some interesting and intriguing moments, but, overall, its unconventional storyline was set (throughout its entire 2-hour running time) at a very low simmer and never once did it reach the boiling point, as far as I'm concerned.

Perhaps, now 40 years later, The Night Porter is about due for a remake.... And, in this mighty grim day and age (of insatiable tastes for unbridled violence and cruelty) that we now live in - I'm sure there's bound to be some "no-holds-barred" director out there who's capable of wetting the whistles of all those boys and girls across the nation, and beyond, who crave it dished up totally rough and raunchy, Nazi-style.

h
hammer59
Oct 10, 2014

Dull and drawn out. However, it does portray the sadistic, perverse and evil characteristics of many Nazis.

Take a pass on this one.

m
mbeblowski
May 07, 2012

A controversial foreign film directed by Liliani Cavani, starring a young Charlotte Rampling, The Night Porter was an early inclusion in the criterion Collection. It can be credited for depicting the complexity of a sodo-masochistic relationship between a former Nazi SS officer who is reduced to working as a porter in a hotel in Vienns. His former associates are burning all incriminating documentation and murdering any survivors who could potentially charge them for war atrocities committed in concentration camps. He then meets his former lover, an inmate and manipulated erotic object (the cover depicts a topless Rampling in SS garb from a scene during which she entertains officers by singing Marlene Dietrich songs). Although she is married to a reputable doctor she begins to have an affair with "the night porter" making them a target for his murderous friends. The film stylistically is a relic of the 1970s rather than a convincing recreation of the 1950s. Criterion Collection normally labors over a meticulous re-printing and restoration of classical films (thus legitimating their exorbitant prices), however I was shocked by the terrible quality of the transfer. A darkly compelling premise that probes psychological depths to encounter the bleak truth of erotic fixation and love (that it is not rational or benevolent) executed in a flat, unconvincing manner.

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r
Ron@Ottawa
Jan 09, 2016

Sexual Content: Nudity and sexual situations, including touches of S&M.

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