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aka - Goto, Ile D'Amour
France 1968
Directed by
Walerian Borowczyk
93 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Goto, Island Of Love

Walerian Borowczyk's first feature film is a surrealist/absurdist satire about a totalitarian island whose leader, Goto III (Pierre Brasseur), rules his tiny kingdom with absolute authority. Two convicted criminals are paired off in a ludicrous fight, the winner Grozo (Guy Saint-Jean) being given the job of polishing the royal boots and catching flys. Meanwhile, Goto's wife, Glyssia (Ligia Branice) is carrying on an affair with her riding teacher, Gono (Jean-Pierre Andréani).

Beautifully shot with some visually magic moments, Borowczyk's film with its static camera, off-centre framing and abrupt cuts recalls both the silent period of George Méliès’ Le Voyage Dans La Lune and Bunuel's surrealist classic, Un Chien Andalou. Apparently there is a version with colour inserts although the version I have seen is all black and white and probably the better for it. Unlike the Méliès and Bunuel films, Goto, Island Of Love, fascinating as it is visually is a little too long, if anything suffering from its more conventional narrative elements but brilliant in its more abstracted sections, particularly those supported by a very mechanical rendition of music from a Handel concerto.




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