THE NIGHT PORTER
IL PORTIERE DI NOTTE
1974, 118 min, Italy, Dir: Liliana Cavani

This controversial and unsettling cult classic filters the long shadow that WWII cast across Europe through an obsessive affair defined by guilt, desire and domination. In 1957, concentration camp survivor Lucia Atherton (Charlotte Rampling) discovers ex-Nazi SS officer Maximilian Aldorfer (Dirk Bogarde) working as a night porter at a Vienna hotel. The two shared a secret relationship during the war, and soon resume their sadomasochistic trysts – but with war crimes trials looming, Max’s former Nazi comrades see Lucia as a threat. Bogarde and Rampling are both superb in demanding roles, and the beautiful cinematography and score give this twisted tale a powerful counterpoint.