That Most Important Thing: Love aka L’important c’est d’aimer

Fabio Testi and Romy Schneider

Mad, anguished romantic drama on an exaggerated scale from Andrzej Żuławski, warming up with That Most Important Thing: Love (a clumsy translation of L’important c’est d’aimer) for his maddest romance of them all, Possession, which would follow six years later, in 1981. In the meantime audiences were more than happy with a tortured tale of twisted troilism – the actress, her husband and the hot photographer who comes between the two of them. Unusually, for a film from the 1970s, it takes the side of fidelity, more or less, of higher ideals over a quick bunk-up. In a bohemian, but not particularly boho-chic Paris, actress Nadine Chevalier (Romy Schneider) is all too aware … Read more


Sophie Marceau as Clélia

Fidelity (La Fidélité in the original French) is the story of a beautiful young photographer who falls madly for a decent guy, a publisher of children’s books, marries him, then falls madly for another guy, a street-punk photographer. It might also be, in code, the story of its star and her relationship with its writer/director Andrzej Zulawski. Sophie Marceau plays the sequentially amorous Clélia, a strong woman in control of her own life who turns the head of every man she encounters. At the time Fidelity was made, Marceau was in a long-term relationship with Zulawski. They had a son together. Shortly after finishing this film, the two of them split up and … Read more


Victoria Guerra as Lena

The bare bones of ace provocateur Andrzej Zulawski’s final film, 2015’s Cosmos, are easy to lay out. A writer called Witold goes to Portugal to write a book. He is staying in a French-speaking private house, the sort of place where everyone eats dinner together in the evening. While there he strikes up a friendship with fellow holidaymaker Fuchs, a designer who’s just chucked in his job with a big French fashion house. Also there are Madame Woytis, who rules the roost, along with her second husband, Léon. Plus her daughter, Lena, and Lena’s new husband, Lucien, the pair of them so good-looking it hurts. In the evenings, while Madame twitters and Léon … Read more

On the Silver Globe

A high priestess

Ready for one of the strangest sci-fi movies ever made? On the Silver Globe (Na srebrnym globie in the original Polish) is as powerful as it is incomprehensible, as if David Lynch’s Dune had been put in a bag and tossed around with Game of Thrones, Tolkien, Tarkovsky and Mad Max. The story behind it is interesting too. It was mostly shot in 1976 by the brilliant Polish director Andrzej Zulawski, but production was closed down by the Communist censor, who feared the film was wandering into off-limits territory. The sets and costumes were destroyed, and so were all prints of the film. Or so the authorities thought. In fact Zulawski managed to … Read more


Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill

Gird your loins, and probably best to stap your vitals while you’re at it, because it’s Possession, the 1981 movie showcasing one of the most remarkable displays of unhinged acting you’re ever likely to see, with Isabelle Adjani doing the frothing up, and leaving co-star Sam Neill trailing in her wake. This odd film got caught up in the video nasty debacle in the UK, where it was seen as a horror movie and got banned outright. A similarly negative outcome awaited it in the US, where over 30 minutes of footage was cut to make the film suitable for midnight movie audiences, destroying it in the process. It’s not a horror film, … Read more