Thirty-five words from Issue 16, “Double Bind,” in order of frequency:
80 [princess] donna
The director Liliana Cavani has outlived Pasolini, but she hasn’t lived down The Night Porter (1974), which tells the story of a chance reunion between a concentration-camp prisoner and her Nazi torturer at a hotel in Vienna. As sadist and victim revive their affair, Cavani uses sustained close-ups, matches on action, and sound bridges to leap from the present to sex tableaux staged at the camp, in blue-lit scenes that exude the clammy kink of an Otto Dix portrait. The early ’70s saw a small boom in American and Italian sexploitation films with sadomasochistic themes set in concentration camps. Most showed male officers torturing female prisoners, but the most famous, Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, turned the tables, casting as the camp commandant a buxom nymphomaniac, who, between bounces on her magenta silk sheets, tests the effects of forced dildo penetration and whipping to death on women and men. Ilsa opens with a red title card with the words, “The film you are about to see is based upon documented fact. . . . We dedicate this film with the hope that these heinous crimes will never occur again.”
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