The Night Porter

Starring Charlotte Rampling and Dirk Bogarde
Written and directed by Liliana Cavani
Running time 112 minutes
Italy 1974

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.