The Night Porter (1974).

April 27, 2017

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IMDb: After a chance meeting at a hotel in 1957, a Holocaust survivor and the Nazi officer who tortured her resume their sadomasochistic relationship.

 

I find it so tricky to justify my love for certain arthouse films since most of them have really controversial and disconcerting premises to begin with.

Take this film as an example. An exploration of love, obsession, madness, and all the greys in between, this film tells the dark and twisted love affair, of which started during the Nazi regime —- she, a young and emaciated captive and he, a cold-blooded concentration camp officer. Talk about We Found Love In A Hopeless Place by Rihanna realness.

The idea of it is no doubt revolting, sickening and could highly ruffle the feathers of many. And that’s exactly why I’m so impressed by how director Liliana Cavani turned something horrific into something weirdly beautiful and moving. The narrative is so nuanced and textured that I couldn’t help but sympathize with this doomed love. With  the flashbacks inserted so seamlessly, the film never loses its mystery as well as the intrigue that’s looming in every scene.

Charlotte Rampling and Dirk Bogarde’s performances are heavy with inspiring gravitas. Both are equally mesmerizing. It’s not always that I get interested with male actors but Bogarde made me want to see more of his work.

There are also supporting characters you really need to see just because of their stunning performances. Amedeo Amodio’s ballet scene is mystifying. The Countess Stein, regal and one of the most interesting femme fatales on films.

Alfio Contini’s cinematography is gorgeous. There was an abundance of beautiful  shots, all with an air of quiet despair. Sigh….please excuse me for sounding like I breathe ahhhhrt but that’s what i felt watching it.

The color palette, mostly consisting of absinthe greens, muted blues, deep blood reds and stark cold whites, go very well with the chilling and disturbing circumstance of the story.

Script is exceptional. An example: Upon being told that their love affair is a romantic story, Bogarde’s Max counters the Countess Stein, “No, it’s not a romantic story….It’s a biblical story.” Dead.

I think this is sublime and it’s one of the most touching, most emotionally moving tragic love story I’ve ever seen. Well, I mean, it could rank 2nd after my all-time favorite love story: Komugi x Meruem from HxH. Omg don’t judge.

I really loved this film, I’m obsessed with it and it’s now one of my favorites.

 

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