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1,774 Ratings

The Night Porter

Directed by Liliana Cavani
Italy, United States, 1974
Drama, History, LGBT+


In Liliana Cavani’s scintillating drama, a concentration camp survivor (Charlotte Rampling) discovers her ex-torturer/lover (Dirk Bogarde) working as a night porter at a hotel in postwar Vienna.

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The Night Porter Directed by Liliana Cavani
Whether the film is deemed gutsy or cynical, Bogarde, in Max’s dark stillness, and Rampling, in Lucia’s agonized twitchiness, 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.
February 03, 2016
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Max asks of the Countess: “Insane or sane. Who’s to judge?” Cavani’s answer is entirely embedded within [the film’s] devastatingly pointed assertion that thoroughly echoes, but brazenly challenges, Karl Marx’s famous proclamation that “the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas.” We might now say that for Cavani, the institution of cinema allows her ideas to become the ruling ideas, but only so long as her flicker of images is given purchase within the exhibition space.
December 12, 2014
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The Night Porter represents the Cavanian film at its best. She asserts her presence as the producer of the look and works to place her film against the strategies of dominant culture. Her characters embody a dream of a moment beyond, set against the rhetoric and the rituals of power, even when it alludes to a demonic underworld, to the experience of pleasure and terror represented by Max and Lucia.
December 09, 2014
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