Tuesday 28 August 2012

The Night Porter - Dirk Bogarde & Charlotte Rampling

There are much better reviews than I could write at IMDB on this film so I'll just add that it was a welcome piece of art after researching hundreds of hours on CIA organized crime and global drug dealing. There's no way a film could be made today that reintroduced a Nazi war criminal with a Jewish female victim for S&M scenes of relived sex and power. There's also a splendid homo-erotic ballet scene with Nazi officers standing around, silent but intensive. Like Leni Riefenstahl the Nazi politics are ugly but the Hugo Boss SS uniforms are evil sexy. Nazism is probably the best branded ideology of the 20th century in terms of aesthetic. Like corporate Western branded ideology it hides its savage destruction in the background but what's up front looks good if like advertising you like to wear black. For this reason we should interrogate all we have and all we do. Not just look at the surface.

Like Graham Green's The Third Man it is set in post war Vienna and if anyone knows any other movies from this time and location, particularly black and white I want to see more so do let me know please.

Here's a write up:

This is quite dark. If you are seeking material that can be described as "happy" or "light", you will not find it here. I didn't know anyone in this prior to viewing. This deals with Max, the night porter of the title, who has tried to put his past in the SS behind him. One night, he spots a woman, Lucia, and they both recognize each other... she was one of the concentration camp prisoners, and the two had a specific relationship with one another. The plot is captivating. This is deliberately paced, and those who have short attention spans, and/or wish for a lot of developments in a feature are not the intended audience for this. I found the behavior of all of the characters chillingly psychologically accurate, and this definitely takes a long, hard, unflinching and uncompromising look at human nature and the mind, and not everyone is going to like the observations. The acting is excellent. All of the leads disappear into their roles. They are all well-cast, too, talent as well as physical types. I don't know if anything similar to this has truly happened, but I can imagine it, and this does pay respect to the historical events. The editing mixes flashbacks and the present effectively. This has disturbing content, including violence, sexuality that is not graphic and explicit nudity. None of it is gratuitous. The DVD has credits and posters, and while the print starts out looking shabby, it turns out to be perfectly fine. I recommend this to anyone who believes they can handle it, and is mature enough, from reading this review. 7/10