The Night Porter

I tried to catch up with my grading and other work for my class all at once. I was expecting to make quick travel arrangements. The sun was out, and it was warm like a summer day. I bought cough drops and had lunch before getting back to work. The hour for the exam came, and it turned out that all the students finished pretty quickly, meaning within two hours and forty minutes. I told the security guard that I would miss Tuesday’s class and went home. I went over to the record store and bought a John Lennon CD, and then I watched the Big Bang Theory episode in which the gang ate the last food that Howard’s mother had prepared. I thought sadly about my own family. I watched “The Night Porter,” the controversial movie from 1974. Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling were in it. The movie mixed Nazis and sex. When I looked at Rampling, I kept thinking about her ribs. Director Liliana Cavani apparently wanted Mia Farrow for the lead role. I found it impossible to picture that concept. Charlotte Rampling’s character is Lucia, and Dirk Bogarde is Max. Lucia is a survivor of a concentration camp, and Max is a former SS officer. They had a sadomasochistic relationship, and they meet again thirteen years after World War II. Max is now the night porter at a hotel in Vienna. The movie is about compulsion to replay the past, obsession, and repression. Cavani tries to jar us out of our apathy by being so provocative, but I would say that it doesn’t work. She did early work on a documentary about the Nazis for Italian national television. I wonder if watching all that footage warped her. This movie had the worst use of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” that I could ever imagine. The bit with the broken glass seemed to have a connection to another Bergman film, “Persona.” I don’t understand why the Nazis would not kill Lucia right away. She and Max have to endure this starving and having the electricity cut off. Charlotte Rampling seems like a mysterious woman with troubles on her mind. There are moments when her face looks beautiful. I see some similarities between Cavani, Pasolini, and Bertolucci. I thought “Stardust Memories” was one of the best movies Charlotte Rampling was in. I cannot say that “The Night Porter” was a good movie. I did not believe in it. If it was supposed to be a feminist statement, then the author didn’t think about the issues too deeply. I have better memories from that period of the 1970s. I see that Liliana Cavani is still alive at age 82. She is still best known for “The Night Porter.” People these days are brainwashing with so-called “iconic” images, and Charlotte Rampling in suspenders is one of them. I went over to the coffee shop and sent updated messages to people in my circle. I watched the beginning of the Jimmy Kimmel show but didn’t want to see the Cousin Sal segment, so I turned to Letterman. I didn’t see Barack Obama. At that point, I just wanted to get to sleep. I kept thinking about my brother, taking walks around his neighborhood, trying to regain his health until that very last day. I thought about the day we saw “Snoopy, Come Home.” We bought Spider-Man comic books while going out bike riding to the post office. We went to Comic-Con in San Diego once. Two years ago, we took a walk around our old high school and saw how all the old buildings had been torn down except for the gym. I awoke this morning feeling that I really needed a drink of water. I took some of my papers to the office but was slow to get started with grading papers again. I bought a ticket for the Aretha Franklin concert on August 10. I wondered how my mother was doing. My father was trying to be strong and sound upbeat. The office was empty because nobody wants to hang around here on a Friday morning. It’s for the teachers who have lab sections. I had to find a way to get some rest. I prepared to go out and buy some groceries and watch a couple of shows on DVD before going out tonight. Some of the people who died on March 13 include Benjamin Harrison (1901), Susan B. Anthony (1906), Clarence Darrow (1938), Garson Kanin (1999), and Maureen Stapleton (2006). Today is a birthday for Adam Clayton (55), Dana Delaney (59), William H. Macy (65), and Neil Sedaka (76). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for March 13, “The Love Bug” opened in theatres in 1969. In 1982, the William Shatner television series “T.J. Hooker” premiered on ABC. In 1992, “My Cousin Vinny,” with Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei, and Fred Gwynne, was released.

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