Starring Charlotte Rampling and Dirk Bogarde
Written and directed by Liliana Cavani
Running time 112 minutes
The 1970s is remembered as the decade of controversy in cinema. A Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist, The Devils, Last Tango In Paris, Straw Dogs, La Grande Bouffe - the list goes on.
Among the titles that generated the most division and outrage was this one -
The Night Porter.
Directed by the Italian filmmaker Liliana Cavani, the film describes the ambiguous sado-masochistic relationship between a former SS officer played by Dirk Bogarde and Lucia - a prisoner in his camp. The two meet by chance many years after the war in the Vienna hotel where he is working as a porter and their relationship is rekindled.
Cavani’s bold, some would say sensational, attempt to depict a transgressive relationship in the context of wartime and post-war events in Europe divided critics and audiences alike. Rampling and Bogarde deliver intense performances as two people inextricably bound together and locked in a compulsive repetition of the past. The film is also an exploration of what has become known as Stockholm Syndrome - when captives experience and express both sympathy and empathy for their captors.
The Night Porter deals with dark and disturbing themes and is certainly not for everyone but this is a rare opportunity to see the film with an audience and to decide for yourself whether it is art or exploitation.