• Goto, Isle Of Love

    Released by: Olive Films
    Released on: April 25th, 2017.
    Director: Walerian Borowczyk
    Cast: Pierre Brasseur, Ligia Branice, Jean-Pierre Andréani, Ginette Leclerc
    Year: 1968
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    The Movie:

    Walerian Borowcyk’s successes in animated films eventually lead way for him to work in live action filmmaking. His inaugural live action feature would be 1968’s Goto, Isle Of Love, a film that, despite the rather lurid sounding title, doesn’t have a whole lot in common with his later and more explicit work. There isn’t much here in terms of naked frolicking and period dress but the picture still fits in nicely with a lot of the other themes that found their way into his unique body of work.

    A nameless island somewhere in Europe is ruled by Goto III (Pierre Brasseur, who shows up in Eyes Without A Face), a man who sees himself as generous to those who live under his rule but who also maintains a very firm hold over the populace. His word is law, no questions asked. His wife Glossia (Ligia Brancie) is a loyal partner and claims to love him beyond a shadow of a doubt. This changes when she begins an affair with Gono (Jean-Pierre Andreani), the man who grooms the royal horses. Goto’s hardly the model husband, as he runs a brothel for him and his friends, but when you’re the sole man in charge you can get away with such things. Again, no one is allowed to question his authority.

    Meanwhile, a criminal named Grozo (Guy Saint-Jean) is spared from execution when he wins a gladiatorial style death match. He is then employed as a servant in the mansion where she lives with her husband. He kills off the man who is in charge and sets into motion a plan to claim Glossia for his own. This in turn results in some political backstabbing and a power struggle in the house of Goto.

    Filmed almost like a stage production, Goto, Isle Of Love is an interesting looking film that makes use of both black and white as well as color film stock for a few shocking scenes (this adds emphasis to these moments). The cinematography is simple but effective and it presents everything very matter-of-factly to the viewer. The camera is never involved in the action that occurs, it remains simply an observer and never a participant. The flashiest moment in the film occurs at the beginning where we see through a series of portraits the lineage of Goto and his family who have ruled the island for a few generations now. We see these portraits the same way that the school children who are being forced to memorize their importance do, and it does a good job of letting us know very early on that we’re in a complete dictatorship on this island.

    With Glossia the central character in the story and the one who all three of the male characters’ plights revolve around and tie in to, it’s interesting to see how Brancie’s performance allows the three actors to play off of her. She obviously cares for her husband but sees some sort of excitement in Gono and understands and feels for Grozo. As such, she indulges with them even when she knows that she shouldn’t be disloyal to the man she married. She’s a very human character and the only one of the whole lot who we’re really able to have any sympathy for – Goto is a power mad bully, Grozo is a murderer, and Gono is simply vapid upstairs. He really doesn’t have a whole lot to offer her outside of what dangles between his legs.

    The movie wears its politics brazenly on its sleeve and at times flirts with surrealism, but it remains a simple narrative even when it ventures into strange territory. This makes for an interesting movie with some keen contrasts that make it entertaining and thought provoking without heading into the exploitative territory that some of Walerian Borowczyk’s later work would so gleefully explore.


    Goto, Isle Of Love arrives on Blu-ray on a 25GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.66.1 widescreen. The transfer here looks awfully similar to the one that Arrow Video used for their UK release, though that’s hardly a complaint. The image here is a bit more compressed than it is on the Arrow disc but most won’t notice that. The black and white portions make up the bulk of the film, they typically show very good contrast, while the color sequences handle all of their respective hues nicely enough. Black levels are good and while a few scenes look a bit blown out, this looks like it has more to do the original photography than the transfer. Grain is handled well here, never clumpy looking or smoothed over, while print damage is minimal. All in all, a nice film-like transfer and a substantial improvement over the previous DVD release that came out domestically back in 2006.

    The only audio option for the feature is a French language DTS-HD Mono track with optional subtitles provided in English only. No complaints here, the older single channel mix is a bit limited in range but it sounds just fine. The score has a reasonable amount of depth to it and the levels are nicely balanced.

    Extras start off with an introduction to the film courtesy of ‘artist and Turner Prize nominee’ Craigie Horsfield that runs eight minutes. Additionally, we also get a twenty-one minute long featurette entitled The Concentration Universe: Goto, Isle Of Love which is made up of interviews with leading man Jean-Pierre Andréani, co-writer Dominique Duvergé-Ségrétin, cameraman Noël Véry and camera assistant Jean-Pierre Platel. Both of these were first seen on the aforementioned Arrow release and they’re quite interesting, offering up some background information on the film and its director as well as where it falls in alongside some of his other efforts.

    Outside of that we also get a theatrical trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Goto, Isle Of Love is an interesting film even if it isn’t the director’s best. It tells a good story and features fine performances and very solid art direction. Olive’s Blu-ray release is a good one, presenting the film in very nice shape and with a few decent extras as well. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

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