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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Vale Andrzej Zulawski - Under the radar

The first I knew of Andrzej Zulawski was on a trip to Paris and I visited one of those little left-Bank boites and there was a poster for a film titled L'important c'est d'aimer. A hand painted sign on the poster said something like "6eme annee". My goodness. I went to see it at some stage and discovered a piece of violent delirium starring Romy Schneider, Fabio Testi, Jacques Dutronc, Claude Dauphin and Klaus Kinski. Frenetically filmed and with a huge amount of intemperate dialogue between stars, the gorgeous Schneider and Italian pretty boy Testi, it was a huge continuing success. Wikipedia says it eventually had more 1.5 million admissions in France and that Schneider won the inaugural Best Actress Cesar for her role.

Zulawski had left Poland after his second feature The Devil (1972) had been banned and the above film was his first in France. It set him up with a reputation as a wild boy and controversialist and that's what he regularly tried to deliver. His next film in 1981 Possession  starred Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill and involved a woman who rather humiliated herself with some slimy objects. At least that's my memory. It didn't repeat the success but Zulawski never stopped trying and made another dozen or so movies. I'm not aware of any of his later films reaching Australia but they probably did on DVD and through other sources like the French Film Festival and other events.

There will be more than a few real obits for an interesting fringe contributor. Some may have a little more meaning and clarity than this vale image posted by Neil McGlone from a film titled On the Silver Globe  made in 1988 when the director returned to Poland.  Farewell Andrzej.

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