16 December 2021

Walerian Borowczyk's Goto, l'île d'amour | Goto, Island of Love (1969)

Goto, l'île d'amour is in a number of ways an ironic name for such a dystopian depiction of this island cut off from the rest of the world in 1887, which has changed very little technologically since then and is ruled by the tyrant Goto III (Pierre Brasseur).

Work is hard and the main relaxation the men seem to have is the state-ruled brothelsThose having committed a certain number of crimes have to fight it out with another offender, the winner being reprieved, the loser receiving the death sentence. Goto's wife is Glossia (Ligia Branice) – all inhabitants' first names begin with a hard G – and she has horse riding lessons with Lieutenant Gono (Jean-Pierre Andréani), with whom she soon begins an affair.

The huge fly in the ointment is the reprieved criminal Grozo (Guy Saint-Jean), who starts to slime his way up the rungs of Gotan society, largely by 'discovering' the body of Goto III, who appears to have killed himself but in fact has been murdered by the ex-criminal, who also convinces an elder that Gono is the killer, who is given the death sentence. And although Grozo is in love with Glossia and intends to marry her, when Glossia discovers Gono's fate she kills herself. This early feature – along with Borowczyk's previous short animated films – will set the seeds for his future erotic feature films.

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