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. Continue reading Liliana Cavani – Il portiere di notte AKA The Night Porter (1974)
Based on the short stories of Curzio Malaparte, The Skin is Liliana Cavani s controversial look at the aftermath of the German occupation of Italy during WWII and the equally difficult results of life during the Allied liberation. Marcello Mastroianni stars as writer Malaparte, who chronicled the desperate measures taken by his countrymen in order to survive. Burt Lancaster co-stars as the liberating American General unable to understand the devastation around him. Continue reading Liliana Cavani – La pelle aka The Skin [+Extras] (1981)
In 1938 Berlin, Gudrun Landgrebe, wife of Nazi functionary Kevin McNally, begins taking art lessons. She makes the acquaintance of another student, Japanese ambassador’s daughter Mio Takaki. Soon afterwards, the two women begin a passionate lesbian affair. This leads to a chain reaction of disaster and tragedy, culminating with the inevitable intervention of the Gestapo. Despite the film’s galloping sexual passions, The Berlin Affair is an exercise in aloofness, keeping the characters at arm’s length-surprising, considering that the director was Liliana Cavani, auteur of the erotic classic The Night Porter (1974). The film was based on The Buddhist Cross, a novel by Junichiro Tanizaki. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Continue reading Liliana Cavani – Interno Berlinese AKA The Berlin Affair (1985)
Tibetan yogi Milarepa is one of the main teachers of Buddhism. His autobiography is filmed here parallel with a story of a youth of our days, both seeking answers to same questions. They have masters whose decisions they don’t fully catch, and there are women whose roles are ambiguous. Master and disciple depend in each other, in fierce search for truth; only belief and honor count. Cavani made an extraordinary movie which has not lost any of its charm within years. It is a meditation of man’s destiny and also a narrative of the parallel but non- tangential lives of man and woman. This film can be read as a visual philosophical tract and an homage to Milarepa. Aside of that, the film is very beautiful visually and the great actors fully contribute to the ideas of both Milarepa and Cavani.
Continue reading Liliana Cavani – Milarepa (1974)
Set in a Milan of the future under a totalitarian regime, Liliana Cavani’s I cannibali is at once inspired by Sophocles’s tragedy of Antigone, and very definitely influenced by the youth revolts and general zeitgeist of the late ’60s and early ’70s. In this repressive state,
the authorities chase down, brutalize, drive insane, and/or silence with bullets any dissenters against the order. The dead bodies of such rebels are left where they fall, and it is a criminal offense to touch or move them. Britt Ekland stars in the role of Antigone, whose brother has been slain and left dead at the entrance of a bar in the city. She is determined to move his body to a quiet place, and at the beginning of the film attempts to enlist the aid of her boyfriend (Tomas Milian), who happens to be son of the prime minister.
Then she encounters a stranger from a strange land (Pierre Clémenti), who speaks no tongue known to man, and who eats and draws fish. Together they first move the body of Antigone’s brother, and ferries it downriver to a peaceful final resting place; then they embark on administering the same treatment to other fallen rebels’ carcasses. For anyone familiar with Sophocles’ play, the final outcome is never in question, and Cavani follows her two unlikely protagonists on their journey through the nightmarish machinery of the totalitarian state, and also departs on a tangent to show the fate of Milian’s character. Continue reading Liliana Cavani – I cannibali AKA The Year of the Cannibals (1970)
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. Continue reading Liliana Cavani – Il portiere di notte aka The Night Porter (1974) (HD)
This movie, which is situated in Italy in 1944, when the Nazis were being driven out by the American army, drew a lot of attention in Italy when it came out in 1980. I watched it in an Italian cinema the year after its release and did not like it. Continue reading Liliana Cavani – La Pelle aka The Skin (1981)