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.
An operatic and disturbing psychological thriller that was highly controversial at the time of its release. Director Liliana Cavani claims to have been inspired to make the film after visiting the site of a Nazi concentration camp and witnessing a holocaust survivor laying a floral wreath – not to the memory of the victims but to the memory of her Nazi lover. The Night Porter explores the psychological terrain of such a complex but ultimately unfathomable relationship.The compulsive continuity of the characters locked into an inescapable and inexplicable desire to repeat the past is ripe for endless Freudian speculation, and in this case artistic inspiration. Beyond the psychological portrait of traumatised individuals, The Night Porter has a powerful warning that a similar compulsive quality exists in the dark web of political continuity between wartime Nazism and post-war Europe.