New Perspectives in Italian Cultural Studies
Edited By Laura Benedetti, Julia Hairston and Julia L. Hairston
Fathers and Daughters in the Camp: The Night Porter by Liliana Cavani: Chiara Bassi 165
Fathers and Daughters in the Camp: The Night Porter by Liliana Cavani Chiara Bassi Over the last couple of years, an increasing number of articles have appeared in the press and several papers have been delivered at confer- ences on the movie The Night Porter (1974) by Liliana Cavani. More and more the film is found on college syllabi, and mentioned in publications related to cinema and gender studies. Even twenty years after its release, the movie seems to have a strange effect on all who see it, even on those who indulge systematically and professionally with perverted, distorted allegories, typical of cinematic discourse, in the academic realm of film studies. None of Liliana Cavani's movies is to be found in the Library of Congress in Washington: the librarian in the Department of Motion Pictures could not believe it herself, especially considering that The Night Porter is readily available to the general public over eighteen years of age, in the Special Section of even the scruffiest video rental store in the U.S., usually on the same shelf as Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris (1972). The movie was completed and distributed in France, England, and Italy in 1974. Its distribution, widely contested by the Italian censorship authorities, would probably not be allowed today in the major popular circuits of the U.S. The director and both actors-Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling-were indicted for obscenities by the Italian judicial system, even though they "never undid a button, untied a bootlace. "1 The traumatic...
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