"I don't know about you but passion always takes me by surprise. I can intellectualise attraction, and keep it at a safe distance, but when passion gets to me it destroys my attempts at reserve or pretense. Truth be told, it makes my heart beat so hard that the sound of every thought that I have ever had is drowned out. I become overwhelmed and my mental defenses fall apart because of what I feel and need.
Watching L'important c'est d'aimer reminds me of this facet of myself like no other piece of art. I find myself scared by the carnage it shows - carnage caused by undeniable feeling, broken hopes, and tortured hearts. Zulawski serves up a terrifying, intoxicating love triangle with the seeming symbolic roles of the photographer (the taker of images), the actress (the subject of images), and the film fan (the lover of images). Rather than bear down on this symbolism though, the story is far more concerned with the character's feelings than what they might represent.
L'important c'est d'aimer is a masterpiece of emotion; it comes closer than any movie I know to replicating the most vital of our emotions. It storms my logical battlements every time I watch it, and it forces me to feel rather than to think. It is driven by a feeling that I no longer want to describe, because a moment lost thinking about it rather than experiencing it is a crime indeed.”
"Love, as defined by Polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski, is a careening struggle of misplaced desire, a doomed loyalty that's trapped on a death march into the abyss, or a self-obliteration to let the person you care for go free. The love is epic in magnitude as characters throw themselves wholeheartedly into their doomed romantic mission. But in the world of Zulawski, we're not in the realm of sentimentality; love is violent and obsessive and all-encompassing. L'Important C'est D'Aimer stalks its characters with the director's endlessly roving handheld camera, lurching through their Parisian apartments lined with bookshelves and into restaurants where glasses of wine and cups of coffee are thrown to the floor. In other words, this is a fantastic date movie if you're with the right company, meaning intellectually rigorous and emotionally charged.
With Zulawski, frequently accused of being overwrought, there's never a dull moment.
Always drawing career-high performances from his leading actresses, Zulawski has been hailed as a George Cukor of demented cinema. Schneider, who embodies the very heart of this film, may deliver a performance that tops even Isabelle Adjani's wide-eyed, operatically shrieking madwoman in Possession.
The spectacular looking digitally restored transfer of the film is rich in color and detail, and the soundscape beautifully preserves the score by Georges Delerue, balancing it nicely with the dialogue. The film looks and sounds stunning, as if it were made yesterday. The second Zulawski film put out by Mondo Video maintains their impeccable standards of quality, and it's great to see this underappreciated international auteur receive such a handsome DVD package for one of his finest films."
"Andrzej Zulawski's films are surprising, beautiful, surreal and at times shocking. Many of his later films follow a much wilder trajectory and are, while fascinating, difficult to follow in any lineal sense. L'Important C'est D'Aimer is unusual in that while it has a very straight-forward storyline, it is populated with such eccentric and unusual characters that it creates a truly masterful presence. It is filled with curious ideas, emotionally charged scenes and cinematography which puts you in the centre of each scene.
The concept of love in this film is very different from the sort of sentimental tales found in Hollywood. It is a love which carries within it the seed of not only its own self destruction but the obliteration of those around it.
This is a sad and enigmatic film filled with truly memorable scenes and a climax which certainly proves that love does not always lead to happiness.
The restoration and remastering cannot be faulted and indeed some of it was even done by hand. It is a pristine edition and the depth of the colours and the beauty of the cinematography are only enhanced by the incredible job done by Mondo Vision."
"And if the important thing is simply to love, as the title states, is that enough to save anyone from a life of exploitation? Zulawski populates his world here with more lecherous sickos, fiendish weirdos and profound violence than the first few Brian De Palma features combined, but his is no cinematic exercise in B-movie revisionism. Zulawski mines the gutter for the frayed humanity in tortured souls, where aching passions still burn (albeit dimly) after being nearly crushed by fate and obligation.
L'important c'est d'aimer pushes this potentially soap-operatic melodrama (on paper, the plot is hokily half-formed) into an expressionistic, even magisterial series of emotional outbursts. Perhaps the collaborative keystone, though, is Contempt composer Georges Delerue's unmistakably lyrical score."
"While viewers can detect traces of Resnais' philosophical rhetoric and Fassbinder's tragic relationships, Zulawski's direction is far less theatrical than either, and his characters come off less as models than sympathetic, relatable people. Even Klaus Kinski, that madman from Herzog's Fitzcaraldo and Aguiree: The Wrath of God, shows shades of humanism beneath his characteristic veneer of megalomania.
Complementing Zulawski's perceptive direction is Brazilian cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich (who also shot Louis Malle's Murmer of the Heart and Orson Welles' tragically overlooked The Dominici Affair) and master composer Georges Delerue (Contempt, Shoot the Piano Player, Police Python 357 and literally hundreds of others). Delerue, along with Toru Takemitsu, Ennio Morricone, Bernard Herrmann and Nino Rota, belongs to the highest tier of film composers. His instantly recognizable style of orchestration, at once passionate and haunting, seems to elevate drama to near-mythological heights without going overboard. He, like Zulawski and the entire cast, hits the emotional nuances right on the nose, and rarely falters."
The L Magazine