Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bareback of Romy Schneider

That Most Important Thing: Love/L'important c'est d'aimer (1975) - Zulawski
Romy Schneider plays Nadine, a washed-up, thirty something actress who does films like "Nympires" to sustain a living. She is married to Jacques (young Jacques Dutronc), an eccentric, old movie memorabilia collector in a big townhouse borrowed from a friend. Enter Servais (Fabio Testi), first seen photographing Nadine in compromising positions in her latest movie set. Whether he wanted to make a quick buck or blackmail her with his photos is unknown, but surely he is drown to the aging yet still radiant actress. Thus begins the love triangle.

Just like other Zulawski films, L'important C'est d'aimer provides plenty of emotional fireworks. Love leads to madness, self-pity, sacrifices and repeated punches in the gut. Three leads are all very good but it's all about Schneider's bare back. Comparably, her role might not be as physically demanding here than in Zulawski's other, later films with more sex and violence, but Nadine's emotional intensity is just as great, if not greater. Schneider's performance is rapturous. With energetic handheld cinematography, Zulawski captures his usual theme- frantic, crazy love, like no other. Klaus Kinski, with his short screen time, truly makes every minute count as a charismatic German actor. The film is exhausting. Its 1 hour 42 minutes runtime feels more like 3 hours. But it's all worth it.