Liliana Cavani's "The Night Porter" October 19, 2011 6:57 PMSubscribe
The familiar '70s query, "Is it art or porn?," took on a whole new dimension withThe Night Porter (NSFW), a stylish and astoundingly seamy fusion of erotica and stark concentration camp trauma. While many subsequent films, mostly Italian, took the Nazi sexploitation route to unbelievably tastless levels, Liliana Cavani's treatment remains more problematic. More concerned with mood and characterization than cheap thrills, the film is nevertheless extremely kinky and shocking enough to prove that its R rating is the product of a ratings system far different than the one we have now. Roger Ebert called it: as nasty as it is lubricious, a despicable attempt to titillate us by exploiting memories of persecution and suffering.