That Most Important Thing: Love (France, 1975), the first French feature by Polish expatriate Andrzej Zulawski, is a romantic drama of frustrated desires, frail relationships and explosive passions directed with understated intimacy.
Romy Schneider strips away the glamour to play Nadine, an aging actress with a failed career—she’s been reduced to making sex horror films and she melts down on the set out of shame and self-disgust. Servais (Fabio Testi), a photographer essentially indentured to a porno magnate, becomes entranced by her beauty and vulnerability while snapping promotion photos.
Servais is torn between his desire for an affair (which she freely offers), his need for genuine emotional commitment (which she refuses) and his affection for her husband (Jacques Dutronc), an equally fragile figure with a tenuous grasp on reality.
Schneider won the Cesar for her emotionally fragile performance. Claude Dauphin costars and Klaus Kinski is absolutely fabulous as a German actor in Paris with a joie de vivre, a passion for his craft and a volatile nature that erupts over a bad notice.
Not rated, in French with English subtitles
Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
L’important C’est d’Aimer [Blu-ray]
L’important C’est d’Aimer (Film Movement) [DVD]
L’important C’est d’Aimer (Mondo Video) [DVD]
Mondo Vision delivers a beautifully mastered DVD with a gorgeous image (this is easily the most carefully and lovingly produced disc on this list). Andrzej Zulawski contributes a thoughtful and conscientious English-language commentary track and a 16-minute video interview (in French with English subtitles). Mondo Vision packages it in an elegant digipak and slipsleeve with a beautifully produced (if rather sloppily written) glossy booklet.