59 The Night Porter

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Martha
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59 The Night Porter

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:17 pm

The Night Porter

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/1598/59_Nightporter_w100.jpg[/img]

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. When the couple attempt to re-create their sadomasochistic relationship, his former SS comrades begin to stalk them. Operatic and disturbing, The Night Porter deftly examines the cruelty and decadence of Nazi culture.

Disc Features

- New widescreen digital transfer
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
- Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

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domino harvey
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#2 Post by domino harvey » Fri Apr 21, 2006 3:48 pm

I rented this one from NetFlix earlier in the week and it's pretty obvious why there's no comments on this board. I don't want to throw around the word "boring," but let's just say, it really takes effort to make a film featuring unhealthy sex, gratuitous nudity, and Nazis this uninvolving.

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#3 Post by kinjitsu » Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:03 pm

domino harvey wrote:it really takes effort to make a film featuring unhealthy sex, gratuitous nudity, and Nazis this uninvolving.

For unhealthy sex, (not necessarily) gratuitous nudity and Nazis, I wholeheartedly recommend Visconti's The Damned, plus it has appearances by Night Porter stars, Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling!

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#4 Post by oldsheperd » Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:04 pm

Let us not forget Brass' Salon Kitty

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Lemdog
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#5 Post by Lemdog » Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:05 pm

On earlier version of this board The Night Porter was ranked right up there with Armageddon and Chasing Amy. It will be interesting to see if opinions about this film have changed since then.

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Gregory
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#6 Post by Gregory » Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:14 pm

I watched the DVD once and was pretty disappointed by the film itself, the poor transfer and lack of extras. I had high hopes for the film based on the potentially interesting subject matter, but I didn't think it had much to say about the power relations or any of the other potentially rich psychological themes in the story. It bears some similarities to Munk's Passenger (Pasazerka), which even in its unfinished state was far more interesting to me than this. I might give it another chance if a better DVD ever comes along.

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#7 Post by kinjitsu » Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:32 pm

Lemdog wrote:On earlier version of this board The Night Porter was ranked right up there with Armageddon and Chasing Amy. It will be interesting to see if opinions about this film have changed since then.

Well, I'd have to disagree there, since I think Night Porter is immensely rewatchable, especially in comparison to those other films you mention.
oldsheperd wrote:Let us not forget Brass' Salon Kitty

Let's not, but The Damned wins hands down, not only for being a superior film, but also wins in the unhealthy sex department as well, while kudos go to Kitty in the gratuitous nudity dept. :wink:

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Lemdog
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#8 Post by Lemdog » Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:40 pm

kinjitsu wrote:
Lemdog wrote:On earlier version of this board The Night Porter was ranked right up there with Armageddon and Chasing Amy. It will be interesting to see if opinions about this film have changed since then.

Well, I'd have to disagree there, since I think Night Porter is immensely rewatchable, especially in comparison to those other films you mention.
I though it was much better than Armageddon. I was just making a observation about other people's previous feelings/posts.

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#9 Post by LightBulbFilm » Fri Apr 21, 2006 5:06 pm

Lemdog wrote:On earlier version of this board The Night Porter was ranked right up there with Armageddon and Chasing Amy. It will be interesting to see if opinions about this film have changed since then.
What the fuck is wrong with Chasing Amy?

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#10 Post by skuhn8 » Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:38 am

LightBulbFilm wrote:
Lemdog wrote:On earlier version of this board The Night Porter was ranked right up there with Armageddon and Chasing Amy. It will be interesting to see if opinions about this film have changed since then.
What the fuck is wrong with Chasing Amy?
Just about everything is wrong with Chasing Amy.

But, as to Night Porter, I thought this was a very exciting film, beautifully filmed, and poorly assembled for DVD release. A very riske subject matter that could perhaps have been handled a little more carefully, but I found it's treatment of aggressor/victim relationship spun into an operatic performance with digressions into quasi-titillating dance at least a little thought provoking.

Truth be told I rewatched it only once since my first exposure 4 years ago and have never been quite able to pinpoint why it worked for me. I think it was a little like Straw Dogs insofar that you're invited to sympathize a little with the victimizer as much as the victim and in the end are left to contemplate "what the hell was that?" and "what the hell is wrong with me?"

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#11 Post by Cinesimilitude » Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:36 am

The film is presented horribly, but bogarde puts in a great performance, and rampling is beautiful. hell, she still is. I also really enjoyed the story overall, but as said previously, it gets quite boring and extremely weird in some areas.

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godardslave
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#12 Post by godardslave » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:14 pm

but wait...according to criterion this is a "scintillating drama".

well, does this mean a company is lying to us to sell their product!?
Imagine that.

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John Cope
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#13 Post by John Cope » Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:59 am

For those thus inclined, I would highly recommend Gaetana Marrone's excellent study on Cavani, The Gaze and the Labyrinth. I personally feel that Cavani's work, and Night Porter certainly, bears much closer scrutiny than it currently receives. I would lay out my reasoning but in all honesty everything I would say is covered much more thoroughly in Marrone's book. Suffice it to say that she is deeply serious about the effects and consequences of extreme behavior and she does not moralize.

FWIW, I would also highly recommend seeking out Cavani's Milarepa from 1974 and the full cut of her 1989 version of the life of Saint Francis (she previously filmed this story effectively but very differently in 1966). The latter stars Mickey Rourke (!) and is perhaps her finest, most delicate accomplishment (at least in the full cut); these films serve as a kind of counterpoint to Night Porter and suggest something of the range of her vision.

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Galen Young
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#14 Post by Galen Young » Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:49 am

John Cope wrote:... I would highly recommend Gaetana Marrone's excellent study on Cavani, The Gaze and the Labyrinth
Cool! Thanks for the tip, I wasn't aware of this book. Look forward to reading it. Don't get all the comments that The Night Porter is...boring? It's anything but! A lovely, beautiful film. My German is crap, does anybody have a lyric translation of the song Charlotte sings? ("Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte")

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Lino
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#15 Post by Lino » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:39 am

For anyone with an interest on this film: apparently, the italian DVD is much better than the CC one. And it comes with extras: a trailer and an interview with the director. Sorry but I do no have access to any screencaps.

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#16 Post by scotty » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:01 am

The problem with the film is, of course, the Holocaust backstory. It becomes a very prickly matter to depict the Holocaust in any way short of abject despair and horror, because of the totality of evil it represents. Anything that seems to glamorize any aspect of it is immediately problematic. Rampling's character surely is in a kind of shock and is a victim of abuse in the camp, but also seems to grasp in what seems like an intuitive way that one fate may be far worse than the other.

In the case of The Night Porter, this evasion of horror is muted somewhat by the flashback structure, which allows for a more dreamlike and surreal "memory" for the two characters--most of the horrifying edges have burned off. Yes, there is a scene of people in the "shower," but they hardly look emaciated as we would expect. Night and Fog, this isn't.

Another problem that has been noted but which troubles me far less is the ex-Nazi club, their drawn out therapy sessions, and the long stakeout. This is clearly not a central concern of Cavani's and more of a plot mover.

I think the heart of the film is really not any of these externals--the Holocaust, the ex-Nazi club--but in the curious reawakening in Rampling of her masochistic relationship with Bogarde. The question then becomes, could this reawakening have occurred without the Holocaust as the backstory? What kind of juice is being provided by the Holocaust that can't be provided by anything else? The chance to depict Nazis as depraved seems entirely too obvious or redundant and not really the point if we consider that Rampling's interiority drives the film.

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Re: 59 The Night Porter

#17 Post by Powell&Pressburger » Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:33 pm

I was going to pick this title up as part of the Barnes and Noble 50% off sale, but decided against it since the DVD is NOT 16:9 enhanced. I hope they re-issue it in 16:9 sometime.

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Matt
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Re: 59 The Night Porter

#18 Post by Matt » Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:45 pm

It's one of the few remaining non-anamorphic titles that have not been re-released, but if they do revisit it, it will probably be only as an Essential Arthouse title. I can't see them expending any effort to find/create extras for this particular title. That's a little sad since it's one of the few titles in the collection by a female director, but I'd rather see them release something by, say, Claire Denis or Lucrecia Martel than double-dip on this film.

Illuminatedi

Re: 59 The Night Porter

#19 Post by Illuminatedi » Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:15 am

I was looking for the name of the actress in this movie which I recently watched and came upon this and decided to comment.

I liked it. Having grown up in a family in which 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' was banned along with anything else remotely dark, I am able to overlook certain aspects and appreciate it on a whole. Sure, this isn't pulse pounding action, but I wasn't expecting that and so wasn't disappointed. It's a bit long for the subject matter but I loved the music. Its interesting from the psychological standpoint since not many movies now a days display this type of unhealthy relationship in such a setting. It is also sad and in it's own disturbing way, beautiful. This is a movie that I would recommend for when you're looking for a more subdue affair.

Personally, it left me in a reflective state. It's definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea (big understatement), but if you're looking for something different, go for it.


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R0lf
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Re: 59 The Night Porter

#21 Post by R0lf » Sat May 26, 2012 6:45 am

Having watched this recently I came to the conclusion that the movie was about two extremes of society:

One where the devotion between two people (often married) manages to isolate and estrange them from both their own personality and society.

And also in counterpoint where people in a group blindly follow social ideals to the point of idiocy.

In my opinion the movie isn't making any point about fascism but is instead using peoples prejudices to form a backdrop where broad social issues can be played out.

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Re: 59 The Night Porter

#22 Post by colinr0380 » Sat May 26, 2012 10:34 am

Absolutely and I really like the contrasts between the group and personal relationships. Between the ex-Nazi group within the wider post-war Viennese society, undercover but still part of the society and operating within it, and the private relationship which is dangerous due to the way it consumes the couple entirely above everything else and shows that the individual has greater interests than the good of either the group or the society. I also like the narrowing of the world down into a series of dank hotel rooms and apartments.

Destruction debatably comes from outside factors rather than the couple imploding but it has that same feeling as In The Realm of the Senses, though the relationship is more complicated than the Oshima film by the extreme sadomasochistic factor of irresistible compulsion between people who don't seem to particularly like each other or the fact that they cannot escape the hold that the other person has over their thoughts and actions, leading to inevitable mutual slavery and the interesting idea of the slavery of the dominant figure in the relationship, ending up by having to lug the passive object of desire around with them! Is a personally focused destructive relationship more powerful than systematic ideological slavery? Did the ideology create the desire or vice versa?

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Re: 59 The Night Porter

#23 Post by danieltiger » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:45 pm


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zedz
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Re: 59 The Night Porter

#24 Post by zedz » Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:28 pm

This is a dreadfully dated film, and I suspected it wasn't much cop even at the time of release, but the documentary they've added to the reissue looks about ten times more interesting than the feature, so I'll probably pick it up.

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Re: 59 The Night Porter

#25 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:38 pm

In what way do you find it dated zedz?

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